Sunday, January 31, 2016

Direct Instruction and Mentoring

Excellence in Education: Direct Instruction
Shhh! I’ll be honest with you, direct instruction has a place in education. As a matter of fact, even though “lecturing” comes under fire a lot for being too teacher-centered, it doesn’t need to be. When done right research supports direct instruction. In John Hattie’s seminal work Visible Learning, direct instruction is shown to have a .82 effect-size meaning it’s two-and-a-half times the average effect size, making it more impactful than classroom environment, peer tutoring and peer effects.

Now by no means am I suggesting teachers rely solely on direct instruction. It pains me to see students sitting at their desks staring at the teacher, the presentation, or, more likely during a poor lecture, looking out the window, peeking at their phones or nodding off.  

So what are some hallmarks of a great direct instruction?
  1. Clear learning intentions that students understand prior to instruction beginning.
  2. Students are actively engaged
    • Frequent responses are elicited
    • Responses and other indicators are carefully monitored by the teacher
    • Immediate affirmative and corrective feedback are provided
  3. A swift moving pace

As a teacher, even when I shifted away from direct instruction by limiting it to 15 minutes per class my lectures often fell short because I didn’t actively engage students. It wasn’t until I became purposeful with my questions by explicitly planning them and using various questioning strategies based on the intended outcomes.

Next week, I’ll share strategies for eliciting frequent responses. Please share some of your strategies so I can include them in next week’s memo/blog.  

Student Mentoring
The outpouring of support to ensure the success of all our students was phenomenal. Here are some details from your exit tickets, questions and comments. We’ll use a couple of minutes in each faculty meeting to share with each other how it’s going.

  • Check in with your student on a weekly basis.

When do I check in with my student?
  • Class
  • Mustang Morning
  • Lunch
  • Before/After School
  • In the hallway

What can we talk about at this point?
  • Common interests
  • Grades/Goals for the second semester
  • What did you do over the snow days?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?
  • What can I help you with this year?

If I do not have a relationship already with my student, how do I build one?
  • Start by introducing yourself and letting your student know that you’d like to help them out for the rest of the year.
  • Ask him/her when we be a good time to check in.
  • You could always call the parent and ask them how you could help support his/her child.  

How do I get more information about my student?
  • Check in with his/her school counselor and/or case manager
  • Ms. Quirk will be printing off grades, attendance, contact information, schedule for those of you who indicated that on the spreadsheet

Great job by our custodial staff at getting the school ready for our students following last week’s storm. So while many of us were enjoying the warmth of our houses, they were outside shoveling snow! Be sure to thank them for their extra work!

The Cast and Crew of MacBeth for their weekend performances!

Need to Knows
We’re currently working on rescheduling Help Save the Next Girl.

As our seniors get accepted to college, they’re adding their names to the “window wall” in the forum. Please be sure to have your seniors, see Ms. Eubanks so they can add their names.

Positive Referral Link:

Technology / Website Permission Request Form

Spring Calendar (Grades, SOL, Exams, Etc): Obviously, this is subject to change with weather, but it’s a start.

Calendar Items
Reimagine High School: Tuesday, Feb 2 at 8am in R110 and February 4 at 4pm in B104 (Please see Dr. Williamson’s email for more information).

February 5: Clubs During Mustang Morning

February 12: LoveFest

February 6: Ruth Tapscott

Worth Your Time

Three Steps to Activating Learners

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