It's the last Friday of summer for me. I don't quite know how to feel about it. I am nervous, and sad, and excited, and scared, and overwhelmed all at once. There is still so much to do, but there is always so much to do. Even though I have been intentionally staying away from school these last two weeks as much as possible, I have still been doing work at home.
The work I have been doing is mainly reading various educational books. If you've been reading my blog, you know I have been doing the Whole Brain Teaching Book Club this summer. It has been extremely beneficial, and I highly recommend it. One of the key points I pulled away from this book is that students learn more when we talk less, not the other way around!
At my school, we have to do Professional Growth Plans every year, so this year mine will be micro lecturing. Micro lecturing is the instructor teaching in short 30-60 second bursts, and then allowing the children to teach what they just heard the instructor say to their partner(s). All the while, the teacher and the students use gestures. Gestures, micro lectures, and teaching opportunities for the students activate several parts of the brain, which gives the concepts a better chance of being stored in long term memory.
I tell you, this is going to be a challenge for me. I love to talk. However, I have personally witnessed the validity of teaching in short bursts. Here is a great example of micro lecturing.
These next few days I also want to write out and script my first few days of lessons using the WBT Five Step Lesson Plan. The steps break down a lesson by starting with a question. You ask the class a key, core concept question like, "What is a chemical change?" The students would then turn to their partners and ask the question of their partners. Already they have retaught the question and objective of the lesson. They know that today they will be focusing on answering the question.
The next step is to answer the question. The teacher gives a definition of chemical change. She also uses gestures to involve the motor cortex of the students' brains. Involving that part of the brain helps to transfer knowledge to long term memory. "A chemical change is an unexpected (use a gesture for unexpected, like a look of shock with hands on your cheeks) change in color (grab one finger to show the first type of change), temperature (grab two fingers to show the second type of change), or state (grab three fingers to show the third type of change.)" The teacher repeats the definition with gestures. The teacher has the students mirror her gestures and/or her words and gestures. The students then teach each other the definition with gestures.
The third step is to give lots of examples of chemical change for students. When I do this, we will probably do several experiments to show chemical change. I would talk about each reaction, explain how I knew it was a chemical change by referring back to our definition, and then have the students teach each other.
The fourth step is assessment. First the teacher does the "Yes, No way!" She asks the students a series of yes/no questions about chemical change. If the answer is yes, the students shout, "Yes!" while pumping there arm in the air. If the answer is no, the students shout, "No way!" while putting there fingers to their foreheads and pushing them out. When 90% of the class answers these yes/no questions correctly, the teacher moves onto the Quick Test. If less than 90% of the class answered the questions correctly, the teacher goes back to step three and reteaches with more examples.
To do the Quick Test, the teacher has the students put their heads down with their eyes closed. She then poses true/false statements about chemical change. If the statement is true, the students put a thumbs up. If the statement is false, the students put thumbs down. The teacher monitors the student answers.
The final step is critical thinking. This step usually involves writing. While the students who answered the Quick Test questions correctly write about chemical change, the teacher can pull aside the small group who is still struggling, and she helps them through sentence frames and thought processes about chemical change.
The teacher also posts a Power Pix of the lesson onto the wall. I'll talk about Power Pix later.
Here is a fabulous demonstration of the Five Step Lesson Plan.
I have already created one for one of our first math lessons. I will post it for you tomorrow. Any questions?