Monday, March 28, 2011

Instructional Tips to Tell Teachers

Notes from the ASCD session Instructional "Tips to Tell Teachers"
Laura Myrah
March 27, 2011

#1 – The Body and The Brain
Two favorite foods for the brain – water and oxygen.
Standing up is so much better, more oxygen to the brain
Your brain can actually become dehydrated
Water makes you feel less stressed
Sleep is very important. At a minimum 9 hours all the way up to 24 years old
Open windows, plants in classrooms, water bottles, educate parents and students regarding the need for adequate sleep

#2 – Movement
Exercise, Movement in lessons (standing, use of hands, change of location)
Stand instead of raising their hands, questions around the room (10 question quiz on note cards on the room), clapping rhythms, new location for important material

#3 – Emotionally Safe Environment
Stress – Even younger students are under stress
Ginott, 1975 poem
Principal sets tone for whole building
Teachers set tone in classroom
Modeling behaviors, alleviate stress – humor, known expectations, emotions and memory
Make every student feel unique and secure – meet and greet, give recognition, listen and show interest, expect respect from all, relationships transcend everything

#4 – Collaboration
Human brains are social, mirror neurons at work (our behaviors mirror others), contemplation of varying viewpoints
Collaborative learning/projects, pair and share, connections with other levels, connections with community

#5 – Time
Need for more time, optimal learning periods according to age, attention span, planning and instruction according to “Prime Times”
Number of minutes in Attention span for students is equal to their age (5 yr old = 5 minutes)
Students most engaged at beginning of the lesson
Vary mode of learning every 10-20 minutes, teach new, most important information first, pay attention to time cycles during lessons and the day

#6 – Make learning Meaningful
Point out the relevance, make it interesting and fun through your delivery, experiential learning
Use a KWL

#7 – Student Choice
Allow for learning within different learning styles and multiple intelligences, Allow for choices in products and/or assessments to demonstrate learning
Vary the mode of instruction, allow for choice within assessments, implement project/product based learning

#8 – Enriched Environment
Challenging problem solving, enrich the physical classroom, use of music (primer, carrier, arousal/mood)
Foster wonder in students through questioning skills, use of visuals, vary the mode of learning-experiential, from peers, etc., purposeful use of color
Environment factors that influence achievement – humidity of room, acoustics, light bright wall colors, ideal temperature, aesthetical beauty, meaningful posters,

#9 – Assessment and Feedback
Goals of learning are to know it well, remember it always, use it readily
Assessments should match goals
Vary the assessment formats
Skill demonstrations, portfolios, reflective analysis, artistic (fine and performing), projects, real-life and alternative applications, group activities, problem solving, lab experiments

Feedback should be frequent, specific, and from a variety of sources
Verbal corrections, written notes, peer editing, rubrics

#10 – Net Generation Leaders
Students are different learners, brains wired differently due to use of digital products, etc.
Adults fear what we don’t understand
Youth don’t see working, learning, collaborating, and having fun as separate experiences
They believe in, and want, these experiences occurring simultaneously in school and in future careers
Best teaching style to reach and motivate these students – move away from a broadcast mode
Rather than the provider of information, teachers should be the facilitator who sets up the environment for authentic learning, collaboration, and innovations by students
Freedom choice, innovation, collaboration, scrutiny, integrity, customization
Do we deliberately incorporate these into our classrooms?

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