Strengthening Student Voice in the Expression-Driven Classroom

Expression-driven classrooms are designed to help students find and strengthen their voice. To allow for maximum growth, teachers need to be intentional in designing classroom practices and procedures that encourage every student to grow. In the book, Amplify Student Voices: Equitable Practices to Build Confidence in the Classroom, authors AnnMarie Baines, Diana Medina, and Caitlin … Continue reading Strengthening Student Voice in the Expression-Driven Classroom

Make Your Classroom Like A Guitar Circle Jam Session

I began playing guitar when I was five years old, and a guitar has been a constant companion of mine to this very day. Learning to play guitar provides some great challenges, but it also provides tremendous feedback. Notes are either right or wrong, and you know the status immediately. The guitar allows you to … Continue reading Make Your Classroom Like A Guitar Circle Jam Session

Relationship-based Learning

The importance of the adult-child relationship cannot be underestimated. Countless studies point to the conclusion that students who have a positive relationship with at least one adult in the school have higher attendance and achievement levels than those who do not have such a relationship. It’s important to remember that ANY adult – teacher, aide, … Continue reading Relationship-based Learning

High Yield Strategy: Cooperative Learning

We’ve been revisiting the nine research-based high-yield instructional practices identified in Marzano’s Classroom Instruction That Works.  As teachers, we know the power of collaboration based upon our PLC successes and based upon the focus we placed on collaboration just a few years ago.  According to Marzano and his team, the meta-analysis shows that cooperative learning … Continue reading High Yield Strategy: Cooperative Learning

How Important Is Creativity?

How important is creativity?  It is vitally important.  It might save a civilization.  Just ask Arnold Toynbee. Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) was a British philosopher and historian of great renown.  He taught at King’s College for much of his career, and he studied the rise and fall of civilizations extensively.  In 1934 his twelve-volume A Study … Continue reading How Important Is Creativity?

Intentional Teaching

The word “intentional” indicates deliberate and purposeful action. Are there things that you can purposely do in your classroom that will help students perform at higher levels? According to author and researcher Jeff Marshall, the answer is yes. In his book The Highly Effective Teacher: 7 Classroom-Tested Practices That Foster Student Success, Jeff Marshall identifies … Continue reading Intentional Teaching

How Does Collaboration Look?

Have you ever tried to put together a jigsaw puzzle without seeing the picture first? It can be an overwhelming task that is fraught with frustration. Developing a collaborative classroom can sometimes be like that. As teachers, we want to see how collaboration will look. We want a clear visual exemplar of how the tasks … Continue reading How Does Collaboration Look?

The Jigsaw in the Classroom

If you’re having difficulty getting started with collaborative learning in the classroom, you might consider using the Jigsaw technique developed by Elliot Aronson. He and his students have developed and refined the technique since 1971. The technique relies on creating small groups and making individuals an “expert” within the group. Aronson and his students provide … Continue reading The Jigsaw in the Classroom

Unleash the Power of Cooperative Learning

If you’re a fan of television sitcoms, you might recall the show “Home Improvement.” The lead character, Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, had a penchant seeking out bigger, faster, and stronger tools. His catchphrase was, “More power!” Most of his attempts to upgrade his tools were successful . . . at least a short period … Continue reading Unleash the Power of Cooperative Learning

Four Steps for Intentional Collaboration

While classrooms are often filled with student chatter, that chatter is not productive in nature. Teachers must be intentional in their planning for student collaboration. In the article Maximizing Those A-Ha Moments with Intentional Collaboration by Nataki Gregory, four steps for intentional collaboration are identified: Set the purpose – Talk about why it is important … Continue reading Four Steps for Intentional Collaboration