Albert Einstein once said “creativity is intelligence having fun.” That’s what they are doing in this Selma Unified sixth grade class. Let’s make learning fun and engaging again – it’s the 21st century! For help on bringing these skills into your classroom, click on the “shop now” button above. Meantime enjoy this article showing how these teachers are raising the bar!

Improve Student Writing with This One Super Revision Strategy

 

English teachers begin their instruction of writing by either teaching or reviewing the writing process.

English teachers also know that the revision stage of the writing process is the hardest one for students to learn. It’s the critical-thinking part of the stage. It’s the stage that requires the most work, and it’s the stage that takes the most time.

It’s also the stage where the rigor happens.

Students sometimes become frustrated with the intensity of the revision process, but their main frustration comes from not having concrete strategies to use when doing the revisions themselves.

The 4 Rs of Revision

Once students reach the revision stage of the writing process, they need to learn that this stage has its own process, too.

  • Re-visit
  • Re-read
  • Re-vision
  • Repeat

When they revise what they write, they re-visit their work, they re-read what they have written, and they read for a purpose. Then they can re-vision how they might change, add, delete, restructure, and/or re-write sections to better communicate what they mean.


—and then they repeat the process. 

Students also need to understand the distinction between the revision and the editing process as well. Revision is for content and purpose. Editing is more for checking the conventions of the language—spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar. Of course students also need to understand that the writing process is not a step-by-step process—that writers often go back and forth between the steps, completing some in at the same time.

When students begin learning how to revise their work, try this strategy. It works well for most genres of writing including expository and informational writing, narrative writing, and persuasive writing.

Three-in-One Revision Strategy

This revision strategy gets students revising their work right away. The foundation of the three-in-one strategy starts with the read aloud. When students read their work out loud, so many things pop out to them as awkward, extraneous, missing, or incorrect. The key to success is reading to a partner, or a peer writer, or anyone willing to listen. For instructional purposes, this partner activity teaches students to revise well, and teaches partners to focus their listening by asking questions that require detailed answers. Your students will enjoy learning this strategy because it makes idea development tangible, and it teaches them how to improve their writing themselves.

1, 2. 3 Revision Strategy

  1.  Read Aloud to Partner / Partner Asks Questions: Writers read their stories, essays or reports out loud to partners. When writers finish, partners ask three questions about what they may not understand, what they want to know more about, and/or what they have questions about in general. No one writes anything in this step.
  1.  Writer/Partner Discussion: As partners ask questions, writers list and number these questions 1, 2, 3 at the bottom of their papers. Then writers and partners discuss answers to the questions. Writers don’t answer questions in written form. They discuss with their partners possible answers. Students can write the answers as they discuss the questions, but this section is to get students verbalizing what they mean or meant to say.
  1.  Writer Re-read:Writer’s then re-read their work to find where within their document they might piece answers to the questions asked. Students don’t write the answers, though. They place numbers in the area where they might add information, and then then

re-write their work inserting the information that corresponds to the question.

Repeat this process for each revision.

For the repeat process you can require students to  insert similes, vivid verbs, compound sentences, or anything else that corresponds to the writer’s craft you want to teach in the assignment. Make sure to have students insert no more than two craft items, and when partners read for a second, third and/or fourth time, they can focus their listening on listening for evidence of the craft.

The strategy itself can be revised to fit your instructional focus.

Use this strategy for short or long writing assignments and/or within Project-Based Learning (PBL) units of study. Try it with the writing projects in the PBL unit
Publish or Perish – Deadlines and Designs from GoTeachGoThroughout the unit, students learn the writing, editing, proofreading and publishing processes involved in creating a magazine—and then they create one.

They also strengthen their abilities to examine and understand different points of view while researching and writing about varied topics. The 1, 2, 3 Revision Strategy is the perfect strategy to facilitate discussion and develop informative written presentations from varied points of view.

Students enjoy the process, and they learn how to improve their writing themselves.


So why not give it a try?

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Be sure to visit TeachersPayTeachers to examine lots of great PBL units of study from GoTeachGo.

Essential Information About Project Based Learning

Who doesn’t like to feel amazing? We live to be helpful and to be relevant. We evaluate and validate our usefulness through our interactions with others—

So why not bring these kinds of interactions into the classroom?

Project Based Learning (PBL) is the best pedagogical approach available to facilitate interactive curriculum and validate a student’s self-worth.

Within PBL structures, students collaborate in groups applying what they know and learn to assigned tasks, comparing and analyzing alternative ideas for strength and validity, and blending and synthesizing findings into something useful to others.

Students amaze themselves when experiencing success. With enough collaborative projects, they come to believe they are amazing without always relying on validation from peers.

They learn to trust themselves and their work. 

As a result, they become intelligent thinkers and self-confident individuals able to make things happen for themselves and others. They become leaders with the best of intentions not only for themselves, but for the well-being of others, too.

The Origins of PBL

Project Based Learning (PBL) began in the 1960s at the McMaster University School of Medicine in Canada. The structure enabled flexible thinking and problem-solving within collaborative groups, and enabled a deeper understanding of content while also developing an intrinsic level of self-confidence and self-worth.

These same concepts are applied to PBL structures in K-12 education because according to Jane L. David,  in her article published on the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ACSD), “the core idea of project-based learning is that real-world problems capture students’ interest and provoke serious thinking as the students acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context.”

The PBL model has become one that transfers well to any learning environment. Use the information below to begin or update an understanding of PBL, and help move learning into the 21st century.

Edutopia – The PBL Authority For K-12 Education

The quest for how to implement PBL structures within a district, school or classroom begins with Edutopia. They have developed every “How-to” scenario thought of or asked about by education professionals, and they have initiated many of their own.
These links on Edutopia are great places to start.

  1. Project-Based Learning
  2. Project-Based Learning – Professional Development Guide
  3. Project-Based Learning Workshop Activities

PBL Lesson Structures that Work 

Many lesson plan sites, including Edutopia, offer resources useful to teachers; however, the most comprehensive PBL units of study have been designed by Kate Parker, CFO ofGoTeachGo. Kate’s units make implementation  of content within the PBL structure easy. You can find these lessons at Teachers-Pay-Teachers. The units provide the essential elements of what makes a PBL unit work:

  1. Thematic with Integrated Curriculum Options
  2. Each lesson driven by an Essential Question
  3. Exhaustive lists of references from various media
  4. Rubrics for peer, group and teacher evaluation
  5. Visuals such as graphs and photos to accompany each lesson
  6. Critical thinking activities
  7. Team building activities
  8. Lesson assessments used as formative assessments of progress toward unit objective
  9. Summative assessments both paper and product
  10. Product analysis as evaluation success level

The Vocabulary of Project Based Learning (PBL)

The following websites provide comprehensives vocabulary lists particular to Project Based Learning.

  1. friEdTechnology: This site provides the following PBL vocabulary with definitions and usage suggestions.
  1.  Quizlet: This comprehensive list of terms has some of the words listed on friEd Technology and more.

Innovations in PBL and Technology


Further innovations and ideas and for technology applications can be found at these two sites.

  1. MindSight: How to Reinvent Project Based Learning to Be More Meaningful
  2. New Tech Network: Project-Based Learning and New Tech Network

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Recommended Reading

Graphics obtained from

  • Bethany Guillon – LinkedIn
  • Edutopia

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Be sure to visit Kate’s TeachersPayTeachers site for lots of great PBL units.

Posted by Sheri Rose at 11:58 AM

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Labels: 21st century skillsCritical Thinkingdeconstructedevaluationformative assessment,innovative instructionPBLProblem SolvingProject Based Learningsynthesis

Posted by guest blogger Sheri Rose – https://plus.google.com/105676342366391630778/posts.  Be sure to visit Kate’s TeachersPayTeachers site for lots of great PBL units.

6 Common ESL Grammar Errors Conquered by Project Based Learning

Many activities help ESL students learn English, but collaboration helps bridge conversational learning with academic content. Project Based Learning (PBL) enables collaboration by requiring students to engage in partner and group structures that promote total participation and enable opportunities for differentiated instruction.

In PBL lessons and units, ESL students move more quickly toward academic language acquisition because the conversation moves from the school grounds into the classroom with instruction that promotes the inquiry process

  • questioning and investigating,
  • comparing and interpreting information,
  • and reporting findings

Students work in partners and groups. How these pairings and groupings are structured depends on the number of ESL students in a classroom and their language levels. Keep the following list of grammar problems in mind when structuring your PBL lessons.

6 Common ESL Grammar Errors

Some native English students struggle with these grammar concepts, but all ESL students struggle with them. It takes a long time in repetition and practice to overcome these errors. This is why collaboration is so important. The understanding of these grammar concepts may be learned, but usage and practice is limited unless English is also spoken at home.

The following list of six errors also includes examples taken from “Editing Line-by-Line“, a chapter written by Cynthia Linville, CSUS, for the book ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Center Tutors.

Use this list as a reference to plan your own PBL lessons and/or units.

1. Subject-verb Agreement – subject doesn’t agree with verb in person or in number

  • He walk every day.
  • Ever teenager knows how to choose clothes that flatters her figure.

2. Verb-tense – incorrect time marker used

  • I was working on my paper since 6:00 a.m.
  • Even though this is my first day on the job, I have already found there were some different people here.

3. Verb-form – verbs incorrectly formed

  • I will driven to the airport next week.
  • I was cook dinner last night when you called.

4. Singular and plural errors – confusion about nouns that are countable and ones that aren’t.

  • I have turned in all my homework this week.
  • I set up six more desk for the afternoon.

5. Word-form – wrong part of speech chosen

  • I’m happy to live in a democracy country.
  • I feel very confusing this morning.

6. Sentence structure errors – Many things—verb left out; extra word added; word order incomplete; clauses that don’t belong together are punctuated as one sentence

  • As a result of lack of moral values being taught by parents and the reemphasis by school many children have little respect for authority.


Check out the Critical Thinking Unit from GoTeachGo

Add grammar practice to the lessons in this unit. These lessons provide a perfect addition to the student reflection journal sessions. Students have options to share in pairs, within groups and for the whole class.

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Recommended Reading
The Attitudes of Secondary Students Towards Learning English through Project Based Learning


Visit Kate’s TeachersPayTeachers site for lots of great PBL units.

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author: Sheri Rose, Precision Copy Editng.  srose@precisioncopyeditingllc.com.

The High Art of a Successful Project-based Learning (PBL) Unit

Project-based Learning (PBL) is a journey into cognitive awareness that produces results. If you’re looking for successful PBL units to use in your classroom, look to Kate Parker, CFO of GoTeachGo. Her PBL units on TeachersPayTeachers cover everything needed to facilitate successful PBL instruction and engage students.

This week’s blog examines the outline of one of Kate’s PBL units:

Drawing the Line: Global Theme Park Design.

This unit, as with all of Kate’s PBL units from GoTeachGo, begins with an explanation of what PBL is and what it is not.

As Kate says:

“Our Goal is Simple: Be the Bridge”


It’s best to let Kate do the talking on this one:
“Project-based Learning (PBL) is an approach that challenges students to learn through engagement in a real problem. It is a format that simultaneously develops both strategies and disciplinary knowledge bases and skills. It places students in the active role of problem-solvers confronted with an ill-structured situation that simulates the kind of problems they are likely to face in real life situations.

Many teachers want to introduce special projects or group assignments that will engage students and motivate them to take practical steps in applying knowledge. Unfortunately, many problem based learning units require too much of the teacher’s time in preparation and management. Other times, project-based units are incomplete, unfocused or uninspiring.  The soft skills, like critical thinking, are neglected—thus rendering the unit to the category of project centered, which is not project–‐based learning.

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Kate’s units put students into problem-solving situations that inspire them. She also incorporates critical thinking skills for students to use while solving the problems, and offers in each unit a well-outlined, well-designed format for teachers to use.

Her PBL units are time savers, student engagers and adaptable to instructional needs. One of the many great things about Kate’s PBL units is the amount of research done. She has already found resources such as videos, photos and print sources for reference, and she has created poster displays, handouts and forms necessary for collecting data, assessing progress and evaluating outcomes. Kate’s research, references and resources save teachers enormous amounts of time so they can spend more time engaged with students.

All of Kate’s units provide integrated curriculum structures. In the unit Drawing the Line: Global Theme Park Design, the skills emphasized are “math, visual arts, geography, social studies, strategic planning, strong collaboration skills, critical thinking skills, critical thinking and problem-solving elements.” Every lesson begins with a review of the critical thinking skills used for learning, the critical thinking skill used the day before, and an introduction or reminder of the critical thinking skill that will be used during the current day’s lesson.

Included also in Kate’s PBL units are team building lessons for instruction and review. Her units are so comprehensive they consistently receive high rankings on TeachersPayTeachers, and the feed back she gets is stellar.

Anatomy of  Drawing the Line: Global Theme Park Design

This is a typical look of the table of contents in one of Kate’s PBL units:

Here is just one page of resources Kate provides in this unit, and all of her units include page after page of useful tools.

Here is an example of a data gathering handout from the unit.

And here is an example titled “Team Presentation Rubric”.

Kate’s units are so intensely comprehensive that each one could be taught for an entire school year. The great thing about her units is their adaptability to different instructional needs, and teachers will have a deal of time trying to find Project-based Learning units as well put together as Kate’s PBL units. She has spent time preparing for teachers a means to help them educate students for the 21st century. Thank you Kate!

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               Visit Kate’s TeachersPayTeachers site and take a look at her work. 

She has truly brought the writing of PBL units to a high art.

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posted by guest blogger Sheri Rose srose@precisioncopyeditingllc.com

Close Reading, Constructed Response and The Comprehension of Content

Brief constructed responses are four to five sentence paragraphs with content grounded in evidence. All constructed responses are text-dependent. They require students to think beyond the recall of facts and use analysis, synthesis and evaluation citing evidence from the text to support their responses. Students have to think critically about what they read to produce a coherent written response, and through close readings of the text cited, they improve their comprehension of the content.

However—

Some teachers feel uncomfortable teaching students how to write, but the short format of a constructed response along with a list of useful transition words and phrases help alleviate some of that fear. It’s important to remember that a well-written constructed response requires Close Reading. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) identify three elements important for reading comprehension that are also important to the process of Close Reading.

A constructed response includes all of these ideas and details.

CCSS – Key Ideas and Details for Reading

  1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Expeditionary Learning provides an important list of elements for what happens during Close Reading. This list is important to keep in mind when helping students write constructed responses.

Things Close Readers Do

  • Get the gist of what a text is about
  • Use the text to answer the question
  • Reread the text
  • Gather evidence (quotes) from the text
  • Annotate text
  • Focus on key vocabulary
  • Discuss to clarify  thinking and deepen understanding
  • Use the text to gather evidence for text-dependent questions

Two Ways to Understand the Essentials of a Constructed Response

There many ideas for building a constructed response, but these two are quick and easy to use and understand.                                                              

 

1. RACE

  • Restate the Question
  • Answer the Question
  • Cite Evidence
  • Explain the Answer


Here is how educator Julie Faulkner taught the RACE approach to her students:
The following sample response asked students to analyze the tone of William Carlos Williams’s poem “This is Just to Say.” They were provided with the one hint that when writing about a poem or short piece, it is important to reference the author and title in the opening sentence.

 

Sample constructed response using RACE:

In William Carlos Williams’s poem “This is Just to Say,” tone is a crucial clue in determining his sincerity.  I don’t think his apology was all that sincere.  He says, “They were delicious.” To further describe the plums that he ate, instead of saying he was story, he rubs it in that they were “sweet and so cold.”  Thus, his tone was insincere and he obviously enjoyed attempting to aggravate his wife.

 

Sample response deconstructed using RACE:

In William Carlos Williams’s poem “This is Just to Say,” tone is a crucial clue in determining his sincerity.
  • Identify and mention the key word in the prompt/question and rephrase the question/prompt
 I don’t think his apology was all that sincere.
  • Answer the question. This ultimately becomes the thesis for the response.
He says, “They were delicious.”
  • First evidence using a citation from the original poem with a signal phrase.
To further describe the plums that he ate, instead of saying he was story, he rubs it in that they were “sweet and so cold.”
  • Second evidence using a citation from the original poem with a transition word and clear analysis.
Thus, his tone was insincere and he obviously enjoyed attempting to aggravate his wife.
  •   End the response by restating the key word or your answer for the key word. This example does both and gives a tiny bit more closure.
  1. Yes MA’AM

This is another approach from Sarah Ambler that illustrates the 4-part constructed response and offers suggestions for transition use.

M–Me

The first sentence of the response should reword the question and state a personal opinion or direct response to the question.


A–Author

The first “A” prompts the student to look at what the author said and to include a detail from the text to support his answer.


A–Author

The second “A” reminds the student that a constructed response requires multiple supporting details from the author.


M–Me

The response ends with the student (me) explaining or interpreting the significance of the evidence.

Text-Dependent Questions, Essential Questions and the Constructed Response

Example of a Text-Dependent Question

  • Could people live on Earth if there were no Sun? Why or why not? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

Example of an Essential Question from the Project Based Learning Unit Time Travelers – The Colonial X Factor – GoTeachGo.

  • How would the world be different today if our colonial settlers had better information and tools?

The text-dependent question assumes students have read what they needed to read to answer in detail the question. The essential question is broad and more thematic, but it can be made to be text-dependent.

Adapt it this way:

How would the world be different today if our colonial settlers had better information and tools? Why do you think this way? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

For more information about text-dependent questions, examples of constructed responses, and the comprehension of content via writing, visit these websites:

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Be sure to visit TeachersPayTeachers to examine lots of great PBL units of study from GoTeachGo that incorporate all the critical thinking skills necessary to write well-written constructed responses.

Author Sheri Rose,  http://www.precisioncopyeditingllc.com

 

 

Improve Student Writing with This One Super Revision Strategy

 

Use this whole class lesson to help students learn how they are targets of advertisers. Get your students into the language of advertising and build an understanding of the propaganda techniques used to influence them to do things, feel things, and believe things that may or may not be good for them.

Start with inquiry and class discussion for a critical analysis of the propaganda techniques used in the advertisements below. Use these as daily mini-lessons or teach them over the course of a couple of days. Let the questions guide each discussion, alter the questions to fit your instructional needs or come up with questions of your own.

The key is to help students begin an awareness of and ability to identify how their outlook on life is related to the advertisements they see.

Step 1: Whole Class Instruction – Analyzing Advertisements for Propaganda Techniques  

1. Glittering Generalities

Words of praise for product or person; nice words like goodness or patriotism

  • Who is the target audience/market? What evidence suggests this?
  • What word(s) identifies this advertisement as an example of Glittering Generalities?
  • How does the layout of the advertisement emphasize the propaganda technique?
  • How do the font styles, colors, subtext, background colors, props and photography techniques emphasize the propaganda technique?
  • Is this advertisement effective? Why? Why not?
  • What other observations do you have about the way this propaganda technique is used in this advertisement?

2. Name Calling

Trash-talking another product or person

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is the fight?
  • No language is used, but what in the illustration shows rivalry?
  • Examine the objects in the illustration. What other observations do you have that indicate this as an example of Name Calling propaganda?

3. Testimonial

A famous person recommends a product or a political endorsement

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • Who is the famous person?
  • How does the endorsement by this person make the product seem like it is worth the purchase?
  • Examine font styles, colors, and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the testimonial?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Testimonial propaganda is used in this advertisement?

4.  Plain Folks

Appeals to regular people and their values such as family and patriotism

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertising suggesting will happen if regular people eat Subway?
  • How does this advertisement appeal to regular people?
  • Why does the use of this regular guy appeal to regular people?
  • Notice the only word used is the company logo. How and/or why is this effective?
  • What comparison is shown that supports the usefulness of the product?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Plain Folks propaganda is used in this advertisement?


5.  Bandwagon

An appeal to be part of the group

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertisement suggesting as an important reason to eat this cereal?
  • Examine font styles, colors, language and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the Bandwagon technique?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Bandwagon propaganda is used in this advertisement?

6. Transfer

An appeal that helps a person imagine themselves as part of a picture

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What is this advertisement suggesting about the president?
  • How does the layout and background create an image for America and/or the president?
  • What is the tone of this image? Positive? Negative? How can you tell?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Transfer propaganda is used in this advertisement?


7.  Card-stacking

Manipulating information to make a product appear better than it is often by unfair comparison or omitting facts

  • Who is the target audience? What evidence suggests this?
  • What in this advertisement suggests the product is good and/or that facts may be omitted?
  • Examine font styles, colors, and page layout. What do they suggest about the product, and how do they strengthen the power of the card-stacking technique?
  • Notice the adjectives used in the description. How does word choice affect the idea that smoking is a great thing?
  • What other observations do you have about the way Card-stacking propaganda is used in this advertisement?

 

Step 2: Group Project – Analyzing Advertisements for Propaganda Techniques  


From Web Quest – Propaganda Techniques


Use magazine ads to locate an example of each propaganda technique. In cooperative groups, create a collage about the propaganda techniques. Identify the techniques used in the ads.”

Step 3: Begin Unit of Study

From GoTeachGo: Selling Out The Kids – A Graphic Novel Expose’ on the Advertising Industry

GoTeachGo offers 3 grade level ranges for this unit of study.

  • 4-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

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Be sure to visit TeachersPayTeachers to examine lots of great PBL units of study from GoTeachGo.

Improve Student Writing with This One Super Revision Strategy

English teachers begin their instruction of writing by either teaching or reviewing the writing process.

English teachers also know that the revision stage of the writing process is the hardest one for students to learn. It’s the critical-thinking part of the stage. It’s the stage that requires the most work, and it’s the stage that takes the most time.

It’s also the stage where the rigor happens.

Students sometimes become frustrated with the intensity of the revision process, but their main frustration comes from not having concrete strategies to use when doing the revisions themselves.

The 4 Rs of Revision

Once students reach the revision stage of the writing process, they need to learn that this stage has its own process, too.

  • Re-visit
  • Re-read
  • Re-vision
  • Repeat

When they revise what they write, they re-visit their work, they re-read what they have written, and they read for a purpose. Then they can re-vision how they might change, add, delete, restructure, and/or re-write sections to better communicate what they mean.


—and then they repeat the process. 

Students also need to understand the distinction between the revision and the editing process as well. Revision is for content and purpose. Editing is more for checking the conventions of the language—spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar. Of course students also need to understand that the writing process is not a step-by-step process—that writers often go back and forth between the steps, completing some in at the same time.

When students begin learning how to revise their work, try this strategy. It works well for most genres of writing including expository and informational writing, narrative writing, and persuasive writing.

Three-in-One Revision Strategy

This revision strategy gets students revising their work right away. The foundation of the three-in-one strategy starts with the read aloud. When students read their work out loud, so many things pop out to them as awkward, extraneous, missing, or incorrect. The key to success is reading to a partner, or a peer writer, or anyone willing to listen. For instructional purposes, this partner activity teaches students to revise well, and teaches partners to focus their listening by asking questions that require detailed answers. Your students will enjoy learning this strategy because it makes idea development tangible, and it teaches them how to improve their writing themselves.

1, 2. 3 Revision Strategy

  1.  Read Aloud to Partner / Partner Asks Questions: Writers read their stories, essays or reports out loud to partners. When writers finish, partners ask three questions about what they may not understand, what they want to know more about, and/or what they have questions about in general. No one writes anything in this step.
  1.  Writer/Partner Discussion: As partners ask questions, writers list and number these questions 1, 2, 3 at the bottom of their papers. Then writers and partners discuss answers to the questions. Writers don’t answer questions in written form. They discuss with their partners possible answers. Students can write the answers as they discuss the questions, but this section is to get students verbalizing what they mean or meant to say.
  1.  Writer Re-read:Writer’s then re-read their work to find where within their document they might piece answers to the questions asked. Students don’t write the answers, though. They place numbers in the area where they might add information, and then then

re-write their work inserting the information that corresponds to the question.

Repeat this process for each revision.

For the repeat process you can require students to  insert similes, vivid verbs, compound sentences, or anything else that corresponds to the writer’s craft you want to teach in the assignment. Make sure to have students insert no more than two craft items, and when partners read for a second, third and/or fourth time, they can focus their listening on listening for evidence of the craft.

The strategy itself can be revised to fit your instructional focus.

Use this strategy for short or long writing assignments and/or within Project-Based Learning (PBL) units of study. Try it with the writing projects in the PBL unit
Publish or Perish – Deadlines and Designs from GoTeachGoThroughout the unit, students learn the writing, editing, proofreading and publishing processes involved in creating a magazine—and then they create one.

They also strengthen their abilities to examine and understand different points of view while researching and writing about varied topics. The 1, 2, 3 Revision Strategy is the perfect strategy to facilitate discussion and develop informative written presentations from varied points of view.

Students enjoy the process, and they learn how to improve their writing themselves.


So why not give it a try?

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Be sure to visit TeachersPayTeachers to examine lots of great PBL units of study from GoTeachGo.

Jan 30, 2014

 (reposted from Momastery.com from a brilliant, caring teacher!)

math

A few weeks ago, I went into Chase’s class for tutoring.

I’d emailed Chase’s teacher one evening and said, “Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you’re sending home is math – but I’m not sure I believe him. Help, please.” She emailed right back and said, “No problem! I can tutor Chase after school anytime.” And I said, “No, not him. Me. He gets it. Help me.” And that’s how I ended up standing at a chalkboard in an empty fifth grade classroom staring at rows of shapes that Chase’s teacher kept referring to as “numbers.”

I stood a little shakily at the chalkboard while Chase’s teacher sat behind me, perched on her desk, using a soothing voice to try to help me understand the “new way we teach long division.”  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to unlearn much because I never really understood the “old way we taught long division.” It took me a solid hour to complete one problem, but l could tell that Chase’s teacher liked me anyway. She used to work with NASA, so obviously we have a whole lot in common.

Afterwards, we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are the least important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger  community – and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are Kind and Brave above all.

And then she told me this.

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

Who doesn’t even know who to request?

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children – I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those little ones who need a little help – who need adults to step in and TEACH them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts with others. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside of her eyeshot –  and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But as she said – the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.

As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea – I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.

Ever since Columbine, she said.  Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.

Good Lord.

This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. She watched that tragedy KNOWING that children who aren’t being noticed will eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.

And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often, and with the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11 year old hands  – is SAVING LIVES. I am convinced of it. She is saving lives.

And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.

All is love- even math.  Amazing.

Chase’s teacher retires this year –  after decades of saving lives. What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day-  and altering the trajectory of our world.

TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one  is watching-  it’s our best hope.

Teachers- you’ve got a million parents behind you whispering together: “We don’t care about the damn standardized tests. We only care that you teach our children to be Brave and Kind. And we thank you. We thank you for saving lives.”

Love – All of Us

– See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/01/30/share-schools/#sthash.Byx6jjUP.9DcY5ac0.dpuf

Try This Back-to-School New School Twist on an Old School Question

Back to school. 

It’s that time of year and students, parents, and merchants are getting ready.

And so are you.

What you do on your opening day sets the tone for your entire school year, and there are plenty of ideas for how to start.

Whether you are a first year teacher, or a veteran educator, using a first-day
ice breaker helps students ease into your class procedures and expectations,
and helps them get comfortable within the new social setting.

It also provides you with insight into the personalities and mindsets of your students.

Typical Ice Breaker Structures

Most ice breaker activities use one of these structures.

  1. paper and pencil find-the-person-who questionnaires.
  2. anticipatory sets to get students thinking about content
  3. intriguing examinations of topics from different perspectives

Some of the best ice breakers combine all three elements into one activity.

Try this one:

This question only requires a simple recall of events.

— What did you do during your summer vacation?

Ask the question this way to encourage inquiry.

— Guess what I the (teacher) did during my summer break?

Try this activity, and you will have students making inferences, drawing
conclusions, and supporting them with evidence — and writing something — on the first day.

Follow it with the second activity and gather information for the Project Based
Learning (PBL) Unit Have Passport, Will Travel, written by Kate Parker,
CFO of GoTeachGo.

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Think and take Mini-Lesson #9  

Can you guess what the teacher did this summer?

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Content Objective: Assessment for Informational Writing and Paragraph Structure

  • Use of Transitions
  • Use of Evidence to Support Assertions
  • Clarity and Coherency of Content
  • Evidence of Closure

Critical Thinking Skills Focus:

  • Look For Evidence and Drawing Conclusion
  • Making Connections

Total Time Approximations:

15 minutes – Mini-lesson
20-25 minutes – Partner activity

Materials:

1. Gather Props that indicate things you did on your summer break

  • plants for gardening
  • pictures of family who visited
  • reunions
  • trip souvenirs
  • T-shirt w/logo
  • anything else that represents what you did during your break.

2. One roll of small carnival tickets
– alternate numbering 1, 2 on the backs.
3. Some kind of overhead display option, whiteboard
4. Two Critical Thinking Question Sets; one per activity (See lesson activities below for sets)

Typical First-Day Question with A Twist: Guess what I did this summer?

Before students enter your classroom, display
the following set of directions on the board in
front of the class:

1. Choose a seat, put your things down, and take
out 1 sheet of lined notebook paper.
2. Put your name on the paper.
3. Title the assignment:

What my teacher did this summer.

Procedural Suggestions

1.      As students enter your classroom, smile and welcome them, hand them a small raffle ticket, and invite them to choose a seat.

2.     Once all students are in the classroom, observe who noticed the directions written on the board, who is actually following them, and who is busy socializing. This gives you a quick insight into how to structure your lessons for individual classes.

3.     Settle them in, introduce yourself, take attendance, and go over your behavioral expectations, and daily and weekly routines and expectations. Tell students that every day there will be a short lesson (some call them bell-ringers) and that they will be expected to complete the lesson each day. Let them know your procedure for collecting and grading the assignment.

4.      Let students know that they will complete the first activity of the day by themselves, and you will collect it because it helps you understand how to help them when you know how they think as  individuals. Tell them the second activity will be done in partners, and for the partner activity, they will need their tickets.

Watch to see who fumbles about trying to find the ticket. 

 

5.      When the fumbling stops, check for the raffle tickets by asking students to hold them up so you can see how many still have them. This will also give you some first-day insight into the organizational skills of your students. Give out more to those who have misplaced them. Tell them to hang on to the tickets for the second activity.

6.      Allow for a few more minutes to set up for the mini-lesson for those students too social to notice the directions on the board. Walk around and observe, and help where needed. They should all have or be in the process of getting the paper set up with their name and the title on the page. Some may have even started to make a list of what they think you did over the summer. That’s okay. It’s another authentic assessment that shows which students are able to make inferences and are ready to get to work.

Mini-lesson Activity

1.     Once everyone has their papers set up, tell the students they will be using the critical thinking skills of looking for evidence and making connections using their own experiences to draw conclusions that lead them to smart, intelligent answers.

2.      Show students the items you brought to use as clues to what you did during your summer break, and show them one item at a time. Have students write the name of each as you show them. After you have shown all the objects, have students answer the following questions in paragraph form based on what they see in all 3 objects.

This activity will assess your students’ paragraph writing abilities and understanding of transitions in paragraph writing, so it is recommended that you don’t frame the paragraph for this activity.

3.     Display the main question on the board, and include these questions to be covered in the paragraph as part of the display, like so:


Main Question:  Can you guess what I did during my summer break?

  • What are the objects? List all three before you draw your conclusions.
  • From looking at the objects, what do you think I did during my summer break?
  • What evidence from or about the objects suggests that I participated in this activity?
  • What connections did you make to your own experiences that helped you draw this conclusion?
  • Use sensory clues to help you describe your ideas: smell, sound, sight, taste, touch
  • Were you right?

4.     Let students share their findings with the class. When the sharing stops, tell them how you spent your break as it connects with the items. Ask for a show of hands to see who got it right.

Lesson Extension Activity – Partners – Two Lies and One Truth

1.     For the partner activity, tell students to turn their papers over and write two lies and one truth about what they did during their summer break. Let them know that they will be trying to fool their partners, so they want to be clever in the clues they write.

2.     Then have them look at the number on the back of their tickets. If they have a  #1, they find someone who has a  # 2, and if a #2, find someone who has a #1. They may need to move about, so instruct them to take their papers, pencils, and tickets with them if they move.

3.     Once everyone is partnered up, instruct students to turn their papers over, and write their partner’s first and last name on the back.

4.      Next, students read their two lies and one truth to their partners, and their partners try to guess from the list which is true. Students then write about what they found to be true by answering the following question in paragraph form.
What is your partner’s clue?

  • Based on this clue, what do you think your partner did during his/her summer break?
  • What evidence from the clue helped you decide?
  • What connections did you make to your own experiences that helped you draw this conclusion?
  • Use sensory clues to describe your ideas: smell, sound, sight, taste, touch
  • Were you right?

5.    Once both partners complete the activity, have them trade papers, read what their partners wrote, discuss, make adjustments, and ask them if there was anything else they would like to have done. Prompt them to discuss places they would like to visit and make lists of them on their papers. This information will help you when planning for the PBL unit — Have Passport, Will Travel.

6.   Students then introduce their partners to the class and describe one thing their partners did during the summer.

7.   They may read from their paragraphs.

Set-up for PBL Unit  –   Have Passport, Will Travel

1. Finally—Show them the Essential Question for the PBL Unit Have Passport, Will Travel, to let them know they will be studying how to plan for travel to places they would like to see. Encourage them to discuss this question outside of class and come to class the next day with ideas to share.

Essential Question: What are the benefits of planning before you travel.

 

2.      Make sure to make brief notations about your observations throughout the lesson or directly after your class session.

Closing

1.     Monitor the time throughout the lesson, and end the second activity 3 to 5 minutes before the bell rings. Review with students how the critical thinking skills used helped them understand the requirements of each activity

2.      Remind them that the mini-lesson/bell ringer directions will be displayed daily, so they need to look for them each day and get started on the activity right away.

3.     Collect the tickets for the next class, and remind them to gather their things together in time for the bell.

4.     Leave them knowing how much you enjoyed working with them and how much you look forward to seeing them all tomorrow.

5.      Have them turn in their assignment as they leave the class.

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REMEMBER:

These activities make a great introduction and way to gather information for the Project Based Learning (PBL) Unit Have Passport, Will Travel, written by Kate Parker, CFO of GoTeachGo.

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Be sure to visit TeachersPayTeachers to examine lots of great PBL units of study from GoTeachGo.