By Katharine Davies Samway
Journal writing provides an opportunity for students to reflect upon their lives and learning. This type of writing can enhance the language, literacy, and content learning of English learners (ELs) (e.g., Peyton & Reed, 1990; Taylor, 1990; Samway & Taylor, 1993), as well as non-ELs. While I have found that this type of reflective writing can be a powerful learning tool in good times, it can be particularly relevant and helpful during difficult times, such as now with schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and teaching/learning moved to online. However, keep in mind that online journal writing requires access to the Internet and a computer or cell phone—see my earlier K-12Talk post for solutions to these equity issues: What About Students Who Do Not Have Access to the Tools that Are Needed for Online Learning?
Continue reading “Using Journal Writing with English Learners (and Other Students)”
By Laurel Schmidt
Teachers seem to have an extraordinary ability to make order out of chaos, particularly when it comes to rounding up dozens of free-range children who are loath to give up their freedom. They plunge in where others fear to tread and the next thing you know, they’re presiding over a group of kids who are seated, listening and more or less ready to work. But this is a much bigger challenge when your students are somewhere out in cyberspace. So, what can you do to ensure that they’ll show up on time, be riveted from the first minute and eager to return for the next session?
Read aloud. That’s right. Open a book and start reading in your most spellbinding voice. Don’t hold back. Ham it up! Trot out some of those voices you only use in the privacy of your own head.
Continue reading “Why Reading Aloud is the Perfect Distance Learning Strategy”
To be honest, I was apprehensive about transitioning from classroom teaching to delivering instruction entirely online. How would I connect with my kids? How would I accurately assess their learning? How would I deliver the content and still make meaningful connections with them? These questions and others plagued me as COVID-19 threatened to take more and more time away from the classroom.
So, where to begin? Fortunately, I’ve had some experience with teaching digitally, so when COVID-19 forced the closure of my district, I was already familiar with some technology that could deliver instruction to my students remotely. The following are some practical tips I have used in my transition.
Continue reading “Tech Tips for a Smoother Telecommuting School Day”
students, studying history can feel like a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle has been
dumped on their desk. How do they even begin to sort it out, much less make
sense of a jumble of discreet events in the hopes of ever glimpsing the big
events can seem like a carousel of unconnected facts, experiences, and
impressions leaving them with a vague sense of déjà vu. This is
particularly true as news cycles accelerate, volume goes up and it’s difficult
to decipher what’s happening amidst the noise.
Faced with the
challenge of wrapping their brains around what’s occurred in the past and
connecting it to the history that’s being written right under their noses, can
you blame kids if they’re tempted to throw up their hands and say, “Humans! Who
knows what they’ll do next?”
Continue reading “Social Studies: Four Big Questions to Connect Then and Now”