This is the fourth and final in a series of four posts about my recent book adventure. This month I read a wonderful book by Randi Stone called Best Practices for Elementary What Award-Winning Teachers Do which I intend to review over the coming days. Check out Post One, Post Two, or Post Three if you missed them. So for my fourth post, I am going to tell you my favorite highlights:
- Using sign language is an excellent tool to use in a classroom that allows you to silently manage students in order to provide feedback and not disrupt instruction time (Kruse, 2015).
- I love the idea of creating Personal Education Plan (PEP)! Besides that, I am a huge group of students making their own schedule to complete the independent tasks during work period blocks (Steever, 2015). I agree introducing major concepts to the whole class is a great start but, like this teacher, I like the flexibility that teaching small ability level groups. I pretty much love everything she brings up in this entire chapter, hands down my favorite chapter of the book!
- I feel that I am pretty confident when it comes to using technology and I believe that will transfer over into incorporating technology into my classroom. However, I have never written a grant before and this guide to getting technology grants is really helpful as a place to start. Her tips about involving your administration to help you discover grants and other classrooms to get larger grants may seem simple but when faced with the overwhelming task of finding and writing an application for a grant for the first time, these are really practical (Melvin, 2015).
- Debbie Easley’s 2015 contribution has two amazing tips that really apply to any subject. The first is on journals or notebooks, students need direct feedback in these books to feel that the creation of them is important. She suggested color coding them on the outside and then set “color deadlines” where you pull six or seven at a time to read and write feedback into. The second tip is the clipboard observer. If students are unable to stay on task with their group as a hands-on participant they will be given a clipboard, they will lose the right to hands-on activity and instead will complete the task as a silent observer to a different group. She said after introducing this method, behavior problems practically vanished and I can see why observing silently is nowhere near as interesting as diving into an activity.
- I love creating choice boards or menus for my students to pick how they will complete an assignment. I know that they take a bit more work on the development side but once created they are such stronger lessons for students. Students who have a choice, take greater ownership of their assignments and can select tasks that play to their personal learning style which will, in turn, result in a stronger product (Nunn, 2015).
Easley, D. (2015). Scientific Investigations Driven by “Inquiry. In Best Practices for Elementary What Award-Winning Teachers Do (2015 ed.). New York, NY: First Skyhourse Publishing.
Kruse, E. G. (2015). Building the Atmosphere. In Best Practices for Elementary What Award-Winning Teachers Do (2015 ed.). New York, NY: First Skyhourse Publishing.
Melvin, H. (2015). Technology for a Varied and More Interesting Classroom. In Best Practices for Elementary What Award-Winning Teachers Do (2015 ed.). New York, NY: First Skyhourse Publishing.
Nunn, R. (2015). Reading Assessment Menu. In Best Practices for Elementary What Award-Winning Teachers Do (2015 ed.). New York, NY: First Skyhourse Publishing.
Steever, S. (2015). Personal Education Plan (PEP) Books. In Best Practices for Elementary What Award-Winning Teachers Do (2015 ed.). New York, NY: First Skyhourse Publishing.