Be Bold

Becoming better is the messiest work. It’s uncertain and humbling, even raw. But it’s also hopeful and affirming when we discover that the smallest moments accumulate into the most significant change. Here’s to wondering about the small moments throughout this mini-blog.

Question Stems

the ASK: I wondered how to help students go from passive and compliant during discussions to becoming more engaged.

the TRY: Whether students are presenting, discussing, or talking about writing we must use every moment to further our conversations about our learning. But it isn’t always easy. I like using these question stems to help establish our routines and give students language when they can’t find their own.

the LEARN: Some students naturally know how to ask questions, but most need to learn this explicitly. I learned that someone else’s words can help them find their own.

Adding Questions to Learning Purpose

the ASK: I wondered how to make the purpose statements I wrote every day more about an action for students.

the TRY: On a whim one morning, I drew an arrow from the learning purpose to a question that created a learning action from the learning purpose. I’ve been doing it every day since!

the LEARN: Most of the purpose statements I wrote made a lot of sense to me and even when they made sense to students, they weren’t actionable, they were still “things.” The question can turn something static into something we all can take action on.

Famous Pairs

the ASK: I wondered how else I could get students in pairs without numbering them off. (I also wondered how to get my sleepy 7:45 am students up and moving a bit more.)

the TRY: I created a “deck” of famous pairs and then randomly distributed them among the class and students then walked around to find the other half of their pair and discover their learning partner for the day.

the LEARN: It takes a few extra minutes to have them walk around and figure out who their other half is, but at least they had to start getting their brains warmed up. Now I’m thinking about other decks…the metaphor & it’s meaning deck, the vocabulary word and its synonym or antonym deck, etc…


Choral Reading to Reading Closely

the ASK: I wondered how to help my readers “zoom in” on a text in a different, more active way.

the TRY: In a few minutes, we read the important passage a few different times, we wrestled with the words and the cadence of language in Oedipus the King and we set ourselves up for a better discussion of that passage for the rest of the class.

the LEARN: It was fun and I heard every student’s voice this day! I also learned it’s a quick and energetic way to start a lesson where we’re going to practice reading closely.

Here’s an amateur video of our reading!

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