Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Supporting Engagement and Thinking
    Last Thursday, secondary teachers listened to Kevin Feldman present on motivating and engaging adolescent learners around content area learning.  Supporting reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking is the responsibility of all -as Dr. Feldman says, "Everyone does Everything." 
     To further support that work, here are some teacher talk stems and metacognitive questions teachers can use while discussing content with students.  These talk stems help to get students thinking rather than simply acknowledging an answer as right or wrong. 
     These particular stems originated through work with RAISE (Reading Apprenticeship Improving Secondary Education):

What did you mean by that?
How does that work?
Can you explain that?
Tell me more.
What did your partner say?
Does anyone have a different idea?
What makes you think that?
Any other details about…..?
Where did you see that in the text?
How did you figure that word out?
Are you making a prediction?
How do you know that?
What was your process for figuring that out?
Talk to me…elaborate.
Did anyone else have an idea about that?
How did you figure that out?
Clock Buddies for Partnering 
     Feldman's presentation also involved a great deal of partner work with strategies such as Think-Pair-Share.  As a former English teacher, I frequently partnered students for discussion and peer editing.  One thing I used consistently and found very useful was the Clock Buddies organizer. Clock Buddies is meant to be a quick and easy way to create pairs for partnered activities while avoiding the problem of kids always having the same partners.  It begins with a clock face, with slots for names at each hour.  Each student has his/her own copy of the clock to make "appointments" with  12 different classmates.  See the whole description on this site, and download a copy of a clock.  
Interactive Writing 
contributed by Shari Person
 It's often difficult to plan for conventions instruction in the classroom.  Shari has provided three articles on Interactive Writing for your consideration in writing instruction.  What is interactive writing? 
From Interactive Writing Beyond the Primary Grades, by Heather Wall: 
     In an interactive writing lesson, the teacher guides the students through the process of writing a text. Typically one student holds the pen and writes while the teacher and students negotiate phonetic,structural, and semantic rules to compose the message. Students take turns writing one letter, word, or sentence at a time, with the teacher able to individualize instruction by purposely selecting particular students to write certain sections. The intent is for the end product to be free of spelling and grammatical errors, which requires that time be spent on discussion of phonics, grammar rules, and spelling
patterns. Interactive writing can be done with whole classes or small groups of students. 
See the articles
on our Companion Wikispace.