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

Supporting the Development of Social Skills

Social skills are those that allow us to interact with others. Students need the opportunity to learn and practice social skills in a safe place, such as a classroom or school. In their book All Learning Is Social And Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom And Beyond, authors Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, … Continue reading Supporting the Development of Social Skills

Does Classroom Dialogue Make A Difference For Student Learning?

Often attributed to the philosopher and teacher Socrates, classroom dialogue, whether teacher to student or student to student, has been considered essential pedagogy for centuries. Even as we move boldly into the 21st century and focus on communication as an essential skill, we continue to acknowledge the importance of dialogue in the classroom. Does it … Continue reading Does Classroom Dialogue Make A Difference For Student Learning?

Let My Students Think

Think time is an important part of the communication process that is often overlooked in planning. Those periods of silence in the flow of a lesson can be awkward for students and teachers alike, but those moments of thought can yield tremendous insights from students. What should a teacher do during the silence of a … Continue reading Let My Students Think

How Did You Get That?

Classroom dialogue can be a powerful tool for student learning in all grade levels and content concentrations, particularly when student ideas are central focus. Teachers need to create safe spaces for such dialogue by providing structure and goals for student talk. In the article Talking About Math, authors Allison Hintz and Elham Kazemi share the … Continue reading How Did You Get That?

Creating A Communicative Climate

Students frequently engage in energetic chatter within the classroom; however, that chatter is often idle. A wise teacher will channel student energy and dialogue in meaningful ways. Authors Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey suggest the following to create a classroom that is “driven by discussion, rather than distraction” (Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2014). Speaking … Continue reading Creating A Communicative Climate

Six Step Communication Process for Moments of Crisis

Students who have experienced trauma need a safe and caring adult to help intervene when they respond to some emotional trigger in the classroom. In their book Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom, authors Kristin Souers and Pete Hall detail six communication steps that are helpful when addressing student in crisis (pp. … Continue reading Six Step Communication Process for Moments of Crisis

Bring the SPIDER WEB Into Your Classroom

Communication and collaboration are essential skills for the success of our students. As such, students need opportunities to practice and develop these skills in the safe spaces of our classrooms. In her book The Best Class You Never Taught: How SPIDER WEB Discussion Can Turn Students Into Learning Leaders, Alexis Wiggins introduces the SPIDER WEB classroom philosophy. … Continue reading Bring the SPIDER WEB Into Your Classroom