Instructor: Mrs. Wilson and Mr. Abramovitz



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Discussion Topics

  • Confer, compare, and clarity

    Posted by Jennifer Wilson on 11/14/2013
    TPT 11/14/13
    Confer, Compare, and Clarify
    Allow students to read each other’s notes to get tips on note taking and increase understanding. Here’s a great strategy…
    1.    Students pair up
    a.    Confer means get together and share a one-sentence summary of what they feel is most important about the lesson.
    b.    Compare means students read each other’s notes and ensure they have all of the information. Encourage them to “borrow” ideas from the notes and add them to their own.
    c.    Clarify means students record any questions that they have about the lesson.
    2.    Ask other pairs to join to make small groups and share again making sure to answer any questions from the “Clarify” part.
    3.    If there are questions they cannot answer in their groups, address them as a class.
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  • Quick Draws

    Posted by Jennifer Wilson on 11/8/2013
    A quick draw is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of an abstract term or concept by representing it in a drawing. Quick draws can be used in any content area, and lends itself well not only to vocabulary concepts like “renewable resource”, but also to abstract concepts like “sustainability”. They are a way to ensure that students are able to understand and deeply analyze concepts. When using a quick draw you select a “big idea” or major concept within your lesson. Next, ask students to reflect on the meaning of the concept and create a visual image that represents that concept (allow approximately 3-5 minutes). Have students share and explain their image with a partner, in a small group, or in a Chalkboard Splash.
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  • Key-Word Dance

    Posted by Jennifer Wilson on 11/1/2013
    Key-Word Dance
    This is another way for students to review their notes while they are still fresh in their minds. As they review the notes they select key words which are essential to understanding the concepts. Once picked, they make them “dance” by writing them in the form of a poem.
    Ex. This example is from Babcock and Potter’s The Tiger Rising within a unit on symbolism.
    He has his…
                -His Color
                -His Purpose
    He is…
    So, he sees…
                And Things
                In Blank Too
    How It Works
    1.    After a teacher-led content lesson, ask students to review their notes and select a specific number of words from their notes that they believe are important for understanding the content.
    2.    Ask the students to use the words to create a Key-Word Dance. (Model the activity before asking students to do it)
    3.    In small groups, ask them to share their poems and explain why the words they chose are representative of the big ideas presented.
    4.    Ask volunteers to share as a whole group or in a Chalkboard Splash.
    Ensuring Higher-Order Thinking
    Analysis is used to determine the words that are important for understanding. You may also ask students to defend their choices.
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  • Pause, Star, Rank

    Posted by Jennifer Wilson on 10/17/2013
    Pause, Star, Rank
    If you have ever forgotten why you wrote something or what it meant at the time, this TPT is for you! It allows students to review their notes while concepts are still fresh in their minds.
    How It Works
    At the end of a teacher-led presentation, ask students to do the following:
    1.    Review their notes and put starts next to the most important concepts
    2.    Pick the top 3 most important concepts and create a summary sentence for each one.
    3.    Rank the 3 summary sentences in order of importance with a 1, 2, and 3.
    4.    Students share their summary sentences and star ranking with others (could be whole group, pair share, chalkboard splash…)
    Higher-Order Thinking
                This activity lends itself to high order due to the analysis portion. You must read through all the information and then decide what is most important and summarize it.
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  • Networking Sessions

    Posted by Jennifer Wilson on 10/10/2013
    Networking Sessions
    Networking sessions are an easy way to mix things up. It allows students to talk to others and get out of their social comfort zone.
    How It Works
    1.    Prepare 1-4 prompts. Ask students to reflect on or quick-write responses.
    2.    Ask them to find someone who they haven’t talked to today to share one of their responses with.
    3.    After a designated amount of time, have the students find a new partner they haven’t talked to and share again.
    4.    Repeat until all the responses have been shared.
    Higher-Order Thinking
    Using prompts or questions that require higher-order thinking is important. To ensure this happens ask questions that go beyond factual information and ask students to delve into the implications of the concepts for the world around them. Provide opportunities for students to personalize their answers by applying them to their world. Ask students to defend their responses based on information learned.
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    Posted by Linda Knight on 9/27/2013
    TPT 9/27/13
    Bounce Cards
    This is similar to the “Chaining” that I shared last week.
    Bounce cards facilitate discussion between students. They provide sentence starters for students who don’t normally speak up.
    1. Model a conversation with a student for the class to observe. Practice this before the lesson so the student knows what to do.
    2. Model a “wrong” conversation as well—short one word responses and finishes quickly
    3. Discuss three approaches to responding to peers’ comments
                Bounce—Take what your classmate said and bounce an idea off of it. Start your sentence with:
                That reminds me of…
                I agree, because…
                True. Another example is…
                That’s a great point…
                Sum it up—Students rephrase what peers say and comment on a part. Start your sentence with:
                I hear you saying that…
                So, if I understand you correctly…
    I like how you said…
    Inquire—Students ask a question regarding what the peer says. Start your sentence with:
                Can you tell me more about…?
                I’m not sure I understand…
                I see your point, but what about…?
                Have you thought about…?
    4. Give the kids a “Bounce” card (see below) to keep in their desks or TPT folders. Allow students to practice, using prepared topics or prompts.

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  • Quick Write

    Posted by Jennifer Wilson on 9/19/2013
    TPT 09/19/13
    A Quick-Write is a brief activity that can be inserted at any point in a lesson or planned ahead. It involves reflecting, in writing, on what has been done so far during a lesson. 
    Example: The teacher might stop at some point in the lesson and say, “For the next three minutes, jot down your reflections on how the Earth’s shifting plates may have affected the landscape of where you live.”
    How It Works
    1.    Select a prompt that you would like students to address.
    2.    Give them a specified amount of time to collect their thought and jot down a response (3-5 minutes, depending on the prompt)
    3.    Follow this with a Pair-Share or a Chalkboard Splash so they are reporting their thoughts to others.
    Higher-Order Thinking
    Your prompt will dictate the complexity of the task. Make sure you are not asking for knowledge or recall information. Require analysis and synthesis in from the students’ responses.
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  • A-Z Sentence Summaries

    Posted by Linda Knight on 9/12/2013
    TPT 9/12/13
    A-Z Sentence Summaries
    1.       At the end of a teacher-led content presentation, assign students a letter of the alphabet (or give them a cardboard or magnetic letter).
    2.       Ask the students to create a one-sentence summary of the lesson, beginning their sentence with the assigned letter.
    3.       Call out the letters in order as a cue for students to read their sentences out loud or share them in a chalkboard splash.
    One way to ensure higher-order thinking is to ask students to add a relevance component to their sentences (what is the importance of...).
    J = Just in time for the Civil War, weapons were enhanced by great accuracy and distance.
    V = Very fast firing of weapons caused many causalities during the Civil war.
    Y = Young men were drafted into the war and used rifles.
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  • Response Chaining

    Posted by Jennifer Wilson on 9/5/2013
    9/5/13-TP Tuesday-Response Chaining
    Response chaining involves linking or “chaining” students’ responses. The teacher begins by asking a question, to which one student responds. Other students are then asked to respond to that student’s response. This pattern continues with one response being linked to another like links in a chain. This can be used with both questions with one straightforward answer and questions that are open ended.
    If chaining is used with questions that require short answers or have one answer, students respond to another student’s answer in one of three ways: the answer was correct, partially correct, or incorrect. When a student contends that a previous student’s response was correct, the teacher asks them to explain why it is correct or add information to the first answer. When a student contends that a previous answer was partially correct they must explain which part was correct and which part was incorrect. When a student contends that the answer was incorrect, they must supply what they believe is the correct answer.
    When used with open-ended questions that require extended responses, the pattern begins with the first answer. After that students must link their answer to the previous one by adding information or explaining. Students respond that they agree, disagree, or partially agree. This way students are listening, restating and processing answers from their peers as well as generating their own ideas.
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  • Chalkboard Splash

    Posted by Jennifer Wilson on 8/29/2013
    Chalkboard Splash (whiteboard splash, chart paper splash—whatever you got!)
    1. Create a sentence starter, prompt, or question for which you would like all students to see all of their peers’ responses
    2. Ask them to copy their responses onto random or designated places on the chalkboard.
    3. Debrief by asking students to walk around, analyze, and jot down similarities, differences, and surprises.
    4. Ask students to get into small groups and share what they noticed in terms of similarities, differences, and surprises, before asking for volunteers to share.
    You could analyze answers with a double T-chart:
    The prompt you choose and the analysis will make the activity high order.
    Sample questions: 
    What do you think the main character will wish for? What makes you think that?
    What have you noticed about yourself as a reader because of this unit?
    What advice would you give to (historical figure) ?
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