School has been in session for almost a month now, and my students are back into the groove of being back in school. We have made it through our first unit, had our first test, and I am getting to know each of my students much better. I LOVE it when I get to this place...the place where I know all of my students names (100+), their quirks, personalities, and what makes them each individuals. This is always a focus for me at the start of the year. I never think I do a good enough job at this, and am always trying to do better.
This year, with the introduction of Teach-OK, I feel like I am getting to know each of them so much better. Giving them SO many opportunities in a class to talk and share with partners gives me more of a chance to assess each student and learn more about them as individuals. I get more chances to hear each student talk and interact with a partner, which gives me more of a time to hear what they have to say! So simple, it's genius.
The basic idea of Teach-OK is to give your students short bursts of information (with gestures if possible), and then they teach their partner this information. Both partners fo a full turn toward each other, both partners talk and gesture at the same time. This means that every student is saying the information, hearing the information, and moving their body to reflect the information. Three areas of the brain are stimulated, therefore making retention of information and long-term memory more possible.
My students have mastered the Teach-OK, and are starting to include some critical thinking components into their Teach-OK like the because (clapper) and example popper. Students use the because clapper to give a reason or an explanation for something. When they say because they clap. So silly, but the sound and movement help students remember to give a reason. Its lso a great way to tie new concepts to prior knowledge and give an opportunity for critical thinking. After the because clapper statement, students will use an example popper. The student touches the top of their head and moves thir hand up quickly as if an example has popped right out of their brain. The student says ""For example...", and gives an example of the idea from the because clapper. Again, super simple, super brilliant. Here's an example...Rule #1, follow directions quickly, is important because (clapper) we need to do things quickly so we can get everything one. For example, if we don't follow directions quickly we won't have very much time in class to work on our homework.
These are the elements that allow student personalities and prior knowledge to shine through. I've learned so much about mu students in a short amount of time by listening to the kinds of reasons they have and the kinds of examples they come up with.
Not only does it allow me to assess their understanding, it helps me to get to know them as individuals. Teacher Heaven.
My next step it to begin having students give the Class-Yes and have the class mirror their because clapper and example popper. I haven't attempted this yet...it's on the list for next week.
Wib on Wibbiteers!