In my 2nd year…

May 22, 2009

While this year is so fresh in my mind, I’d like to jot down some rough ideas regarding how I can improve the effectiveness of my teaching next year:

  • Increase reading strategies instruction through various methods (annotation, etc). Here’s a list of some worth learning/trying!
  • Increase read aloud time to improve fluency.
  • Increase SSR time to help students get into the books. (15 min per class- ish)
  • Change up reading quizzes so that by the 3rd and 4th time, students who have not read do not get unfair A’s for being told answers by students who have already taken quiz. Random quizzing? Random grading? Multiple forms?
  • Get serious about vocabulary instruction. Should be ongoing all year. Incorporate fun activities. (Save 15-20 min for “Fun-day Friday”? Catchphrase in the classroom was very fun!) Show how it relates to word choice issue in writing. *Consider 5 minute bellringer vocab/etymology activities*
  • Increase time spent modeling good writing and editing processes. Change thesis statement instruction to point sentence and hit it hard.
  • Find a way to do some very simple grammar instruction/reminders without it being tedious or useless. Give minilessons during actual editing activities for paragraphs/essays that will be for credit w/high expectations?
  • Write carefully constructed paragraphs on a regular basis. Requires QUICK turnaround to be effective.
  • Read up on writer’s workshop. Test skills in Cr.Wr. 1st semester. As comfort level grows, incorporate in regular English instruction.
  • Maintain portfolios (decide exactly what it will entail over summer so students have CLEAR guidelines. Offer time in class for kids to self evaluate writing and make plan for improvement. (This may go along w/writer’s workshop/conferences.)

The actual activities:

  • Socratic Seminars – increase #, student response was very positive.
  • Find interesting ways to build background information – sometimes/often it should help students with notetaking skills. (Create own webquests: King Arthur and The Crucible?)
  • Gallery Walks – when we do any kind of visual projects, we should use this + student vote for fave ( a couple extra credit pts). Gives better purpose for projects.
  • Find ways of giving roles/using lit circles throughout the year. Make sure it is more efficient/effective. Create product/offer personal synopsis in writing?
  • Debates: 1-2. Assign roles, give time to prepare.
  • Mock trial. Shoot for 1 per year? (OMM; Beowulf ?)
  • Ning use – ongoing all year (like journal) or periodic? Need to decide what role it will play during the regular school year.
  • Diigo – we do lots of research based papers (with plenty of room for personal/opinionated voice). See if this tool can help students organized and improve my ability to check in on them.
  • Think – Pair – Share activities where students are called on periodically to share their responses with the class to keep them accountable.

I feel like there are a zillion other ideas to incorporate but I think this is a good place to start!  What do you incorporate that is missing from this list? I’d love to have some feedback/additional tips! Thanks!


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