Sunday, November 15, 2015

Extended Discussions and Scaffolding

Intervention Strategy: Classroom Literacy Strategy for Extended Discussions
Guided discussion is a valuable, yet often underused, instructional strategy that enables classroom teachers to demonstrate “habits of mind” and patterns of thinking. Good classwide discussions involve all students and require scrutiny in a supportive manner, and they wrap up with a summarization of the main points.

Here’s a strategy from (Kamil, 2008) that provides the required structure.
  1. Pose questions to the class that require students to explain their positions and the reasoning to support those positions
  2. Teachers should “think aloud’ as the discussion leader to model good reasoning practices such as taking a stand on topic or providing an explanation of why one supports a particular position
  3. Supportively challenge student views by offering possible counter arguments that students must attempt to answer
  4. Single out and mention examples of effective student reasoning
  5. Avoid being overly directive; the purpose of the extended discussions is to more freely investigate and think about complex topics, not to push students toward a pre-determined viewpoint
  6. At the conclusion of the discussion, summarize the general ground covered in the discussion and have students highlight the main ideas covered or respond to the main ideas

Teachers can train students to lead (think Socratic Seminars) and have those students moderated whole group or cooperative learning formats. This protocol, however, is an effective starting point.

A conversation with educators: Scaffolding
One of the things I love about education are the discussions that we, as educators, are able to have. We all share a love for our profession and an unbridled passion for our  students, so even when we disagree--although that doesn’t occur in the below vignette--we know we have the best interests of our students at heart.

Educator 1: “I’m struggling to meet the needs of my lower students. And then when I’m working with them, my stronger students act up.”

After talking a little about procedures, the second educator asked, “How do you meet the needs of the stronger students?”

Reflecting on the question, Educator 1, responded, “They don’t really need my help.”

Educator 2 responded: “Well clearly they do. The problem you’re having isn’t with your lower-level students; it’s with your stronger students. We need to raise the ceiling of performance for all of our students. So for your top students this means they need to be challenged more.”

The above story was shared with me by the two teachers! From this conversation we started talking about scaffolding and differentiation. The highlights of the conversation:
  • Great teachers challenge each student by establishing expectations just beyond the reach of each student
  • As teachers we must support the growth of each student
  • Our best students need us just as much as struggling students, but their needs are different
  • We must use pre-assessments to know where each student is and where they are going
  • Varied or flexible grouping is vital to pushing each student to perform to their fullest
  • Student choice is a great lever

Need to Knows
Positive Referral Link : With the end of the first semester a while ago, why not refer you top student, or the one who made great progress or you’re really proud of. It’s a great way to Embrace Students and Inspire Learning.

Technology / Website Permission Request Form

Shout Outs
Thanks to all our HOSA students and their sponsors, Nurses Hunt and Ramwell, for a successful blood drive. Yes, the lines were long for our students missed some class time, but remember each donated pint saves 3 lives….I think we can “live” without some of our students for a class period.

Two non-VHSL sporting events stood out this past week. Despite several student injuries, the PowderPuff game, organized by Ms. Meade and Ms. Johnson was a great success. Thanks to all the teachers who worked the concession stands and the gates and to Nurse Tomlin for the first aid. The students had a great time and it was for all for a great cause.

And the dodgeball tournament, also for a great cause, was also a rousing success. Great job Coach Hunt! Our faculty teams ended up short-handed...but that’s another story.

Congrats to our Girls Cross Country team for taking 2nd place at the State Meet at Great Meadow!

Missed including this last week but our Marching Band, led by Mr. Coston, earned a Superior Rating, the highest possible.

Gotta’ tip the hat to our Scheduling Committee for their continued hard work as we shift to an alternating block schedule.

Who’s trying last week’s 2x10 strategy? Would love to hear from you!

Calendar Items
Tonight’s #vachat at 8pm features author Douglas Reeves as we discuss Creativity, Assessments and Grading  

November 18: Band Concert
November 19: Faculty Meetings
November 20: 21 Chump Street Performances (all 4 blocks)

A long stretch without any birthdays….

Worth Your Time

The Secret to Close Reading Success The article talks about CCSS but it can be applied to any classroom. Talks with Teachers is a great podcast by the way (where the article comes from).

The 6 D’s process of Solution Fluency-Define, Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver, Debrief WOW! I wish I had known about this website years ago. A great starting spot for problem-solving, inquiry-based learning, project-based learning and collaborative projects.

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