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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Writing Inference Questions - Practice Attempt

I believe that I am a horrible question writer, but that is probably because I do not write very many questions. I am reading Classroom Assessment for Student Learning, and a good portion of the book is devoted to writing quality questions for student learning. So I am going to practice, but I need feedback. 

One of the first lessons I teach for the year is about inferences, and that happens to be a topic covered in the book. The authors have included the following formula for writing inference questions:

Here is my first practice attempt. Any and all feedback is welcomed regarding the answer choices. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Preparing for a new year: Daily Agenda

I have been doing a great deal of pedagogical reading this summer, some by choice and some not-so-much by choice. Regardless of my reason for picking up books about basic teaching principles, I am learning, and as a teacher, I think it is tremendously important for us to always be learning. 

This summer, I have learned that I have been doing some things for so long now that I have overlooked actually teaching them. As an AVID site-team member, WICOR (writing/inquiry/collaboration/
organization/reading) is important in my classroom. For eleven years, I have used one particular organizational tool, but it was not until this summer that I realized I have never explicitly taught my expectations for the daily agenda

On Monday, August 25, my students are going to learn how to fill in the agenda like I have never done before. Having and using a student agenda is a school requirement, but students often carry them around blank. I am going to teach how to do this so thoroughly that my students should be able to teach all of their peers in the building how to fill in their agendas for every class they attend. I have included what my expectations are, including what students should not be doing based on mistakes I have seen for the past eleven years. 

For this lesson, I have included:

  • pre- and post-learning targets
    • Pre-learning targets emphasize "I am learning..." while post-learning targets change that language to "I can..."
  • choral reading of certain pieces of information to keep all students participating and on track
  • vocabulary emphasis
  • step-by-step instructions
  • turn and talk
  • student self-assessment
This instruction should take no more than ten minutes on the first day with a few minutes of review each following day of the week. 

I still have a month before school starts, but cranking something like this out while it is fresh in my brain helps me focus myself and to give my students the best. Besides, who actually has time to plan once we get back?