videos on her site. Click the video link and you will be impressed at her pace and efficiency. Watch the kids! They are in awe of her and EVERY child is participating. It's not the video either...we practiced this as part of our CLC. First, we used one of our classrooms as a "test room" and then did the same lessons in our own classrooms. In both situations, the kids were all fully engaged and retained the information we had taught with a much higher level than we expected. My kids looked forward to the days I would come back form the CLC training to test something new on them!
Basically, you are laying a foundation for all of your students to be able to dig deeper and apply more abstract concepts. Since this training, I have begun introducing virtually every lesson with the explicit instruction model which pairs perfectly with cooperative learning strategies. With these two methods in place, student attitudes and success soared. I can't wait to see what happens this year when I get a whole year to implement this structure!
With this in mind, I want to start the year a little differently. Traditionally, we always spend the first few days as a class creating our rules and doing a few activities with them. Our rules get written on a poster and plastered on the wall, and more or less, forgotten. This year, I want students to engage more with the rules and in analyzing their own performance. And so, I decided to create an explicit instruction unit introducing and exploring our classroom rules.
First, I decided I wanted the rules to be as simple as possible and short! The list is pretty traditional, but you'll see, the deeper into the explicit instruction unit you go, there is quite a bit of detail attached to each rule. Here's my list:
For each rule, the teacher introduces it and explains why it is important. The next three slides discuss how the rule should look, sound, and feel, followed by some non-examples.
The slides look simple, but there is a set of suggested teacher prompts included in each notes section as you can see in this screen shot:
The prompts are all editable (but the backgrounds are not to protect clip art privacy rules). This introduction is followed by three activities that engage the students in multiple interactions with the rule and cooperative learning strategies. Each day ends with students reflecting upon their understanding of this rule in their own "Rule and Goal" book (18 pages). Each of the first four day works around this same basic routine.
The fifth day is a cumulative review using cooperative learning strategies and reviewing the class pledge as students all sign their name to a class chart and in their personal booklets. Students also work together to create a consequence chart. The best part is, I will now have a concrete reminder for myself and students each month because the rest of the student booklet includes a monthly student evaluation of their progress with the classroom rules. This ensures that I don't get lackadaisical about reinforcing and reviewing these rules! I'm even thinking of keeping track of my own progress...I've broken a rule or two myself I'm thinking.
Here's your reward for sticking around:
Minute to Win It Set #4
Have a blast and take those pictures...