Take a look at the grid above. Four numbers, seemingly unrelated. Try to see if you can figure out which one doesn't belong? Much like the old Sesame Street song -
So, which did you choose:
Communication is crucial in classrooms
Getting students to talk in a classroom, usually isn't a problem. We often spend our days trying to figure out how to get students to talk less. What if, instead, we channeled their conversations into productive talk about their learning? What if they used academic vocabulary to explain precisely what they were learning and doing? In order for some students to process learning, they need to vocalize. Sometimes students learn more from conversations with their peers than with adults. Communication is a way for students to engage with other learners and the material being taught. It isn't enough though, just to talk, conversation needs to be targeted to learning and purposeful, where all students have the ability to respond and the inability to hide.
Communication must often be taught
Students today spend much of their time communicating online and through other media outlets, but rarely are taught how to communicate appropriately. Giving students stems to begin conversations also teachers them to respond or ask questions. Holding an expectation that students answer questions in complete sentences also increases the classroom discourse.
Communication can only be tested in the real world
No, there won't be a multiple choice or fill in the blank test that will see how well you taught your students to communicate, but for their future success, they deserve it. Most employers are looking for effective communicators; whether it be verbal or written communication.
Taking time to teach communication and incorporate it in your classroom could be a game changer for your students. Post those questions that invite critical thinking and discussion.
Today I went to a Professional Development session that was about Cultural Responsiveness. I expected to learn about differences in cultures, religions, races, sexes, or other things that have the potential to divide and separate people. However, that wasn't really how the day unfolded.
The PD started off with the speaker asking us to think of a student who was failed by the system. We were asked to keep that student in mind and stand if they fell into each of these three categories:
Next, we watched the video "Take a seat, Make a Friend. We were given the opportunity to recreate our own "Strangers in a Ball Pit Moment", where we were asked to answer three deep questions with our peers:
The speaker went on to explain that using this protocol of "Strangers in a Ball Pit" is a way to get to know our students, in order to meet them where they are. If you know that someones dad inspires them, how might that affect the way you teach them? Forming relationships based on deep knowledge of our students is one research-based strategy of overcoming the achievement gap. We all have heard the saying:
"No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care"
The speaker shared with us, "the best way to end racism is to get to know one another". So climb into that ball pit, ask the hard questions, find out what makes them who they are, and grow from there.
Engagement is such an interesting thing. When it is happening in a classroom, it is apparent; but sometimes when it isn't happening, you wonder what is missing. At my school, we have been reading this article. This article states that there are 8 main aspects to an engaged classroom:
What small tweaks can you make to incorporate 3 of these 8 things into instruction? It can't be all 8 all the time, but which ones could you enhance in your classroom?
Instructional specialist/coach, Google Certified Trainer, Level 1 and 2 Google Certified educator, Ed Tech Team Teacher Leader Certified, growing and learning