Archive for the ‘Teaching Help’ Category


Smart Questions

August 19, 2012

Found at Fast Times of a Middle School Math Teacher (via High Heels in High School):

SMART Questions

  1. I don’t understand ___________ part or step.
  2. I don’t understand ___________ vocabulary word.
  3. Could you repeat ____________ part or step?
  4. How did you get _____________?
  5. Why did you do _____________ (multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, etc.)?
  6. What part of the story problem let you know to do that?
  7. What helped you understand that problem (notes, key words, equations, etc.)?
  8. Do you understand how we got this answer?
  9. Where did you get ___________ (side length, page number, note, etc.)?
  10. Could you clarify the problem?
  11. Did we …?

She then printed out these questions and put them on those display holders you see at restaurants, so that students could always see them as they worked in their groups. She said that:

After about a month of using these sentence stems I started to notice that it seems to take a while to find a question. Having 11 different questions is a bit overwhelming. If you think about using this strategy you might want to limit the card to 5 or 6 questions and have the same questions on both sides.

And I agree. I do like the idea of giving kids something to say besides, “I don’t get it,” or “IDK”.


Nuggets From GT Training **Updated**

August 9, 2012

Last week I attended 30 hours of state-mandated GT training. Woo. Fortunately, the presenter was good, and she made it not too unbearable. One thing she did that I appreciated is that she took the first 15 minutes of each day’s session (when people are still trickling in) and shared different web sites that she had found useful.

Content/Lesson Plans Thinkfinity Lesson plans Curriki Curriculum wiki Math Mistakes Wiki Ideas to Inspire Lesson plans, tips Teachers’ Domain PBS Resources

Tools Library of Congress (’nuff said) Stock.XCHNG (stock photo exchange) PhotoFunia (photo editor) (also includes Keep Calm poster maker and Hogwarts Letter) TinEye Labs Multicolor Image Search (search for CC images based on color) Baudv!lle (ecards and calendars) FindSounds (Audio sample search engine) ESC Region XIII’s PDAS page (Good for forms)

Assessment and Assistance

June 18, 2012

From Education Week’s Coach G’s Teaching Tips,

[I]it’s better to assess how all students are doing before you assist any students.


#sbarbook Twitter Feed 8/13/10

August 14, 2010

Read the rest of this entry ?


Building Relationships

July 21, 2010

Ever since my first year of teaching, I have written each of my students a note for Thanksgiving telling them why I am thankful to have him or her as my student (some notes are harder to write than others). When I hand them out, students usually have trouble believing someone would take the time to write so many notes by hand.

What I don’t tell them is that many of the notes are written for me — it changes my attitude toward a kid if I’m having to think of things to be thankful about as opposed to complaining about. It helps me build relationships with the students because I took the time to focus on that student individually.

I’ve occasionally felt I should be doing more of this type of thing–especially since I am always getting new students. I really like what Grace has done, and I’m thinking S and I can do this sort of thing on a regular basis.


SBG Scale

June 3, 2010

I’m swiping this from Matt Townsley:

Each Learning Target is scored using a 4-point scale:
4 – demonstrates thorough understanding
3.5 – high level of understanding, but with small errors
3 – demonstrates understanding, but with significant gaps
2 – shows some understanding, but insufficient for a passing grade
1 – Attempts the problem

He’s also got a post I’m interested in on how to explain all this to parents.


Never Work Harder Than Your Students Action Plan

November 15, 2009

According to Never Work Harder Than Your Students, any teacher can become a master teacher by applying 7 basic principles:

  1. Master teachers start where their students are.
  2. Master teachers know where their students are going.
  3. Master teachers expect to get their students to their goal.
  4. Master teachers support their students along the way.
  5. Master teachers use feedback to help them and their students get better.
  6. Master teachers focus on quality rather than quantity.
  7. Master teachers never work harder than their students.

When I took the pretest, I scored a total of 138 — just on the beginning edge of “Practitioner”, but most of my average scores on each principle were between 2 and 3. According to the book, I now need to set up an Action Plan to address those principles whose scores were closest to 3, which are principles 3, 5, and 6. Since I am supposed to start with one principle at a time, I will start with 3: Master teachers expect to get their students to their goal.

The action plan is divided into eight parts:

  1. Identify the Principle I will work to develop and conduct an analysis of how I have been applying the principle to my practice so far.
  2. Use the Getting Started steps to to help figure out what specific steps I will need to take in order to improve my practice of the principle.
  3. Detail what Specific Actions I will take in order to apply each Getting Started step to my own teaching.
  4. Decide what feedback (Evidence) I will collect to tell whether I am making progress.
  5. Identify any Resources I will need to implement the action steps.
  6. Identify a Due Date for when I will implement each step.
  7. Anticipate any Obstacles I may face along the way.
  8. Think about how I will Monitor my progress and when my Completion Date will be.