Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Weekly Reflections --- Tuesday Challenge 4/5/2016

Weekly Reflections --- Tuesday Challenge 4/5/2016

For my 31-day challenge, I posted blogs about my personal life.
For the weekly Tuesday entries, I hope to reflect at times on my teaching.

Two things that did not work this past week

1 Rushing...When I am excited about a lesson, I rush to it and through it. I need to remember that my students need time to digest this new information that is not new to me. The beauty of teaching is that a classroom filled with students' rich discussions always brings new perspectives to the known.

2. Last week, I did not feel very well.I felt tense and stressed. Though, I tried to remain as pleasant and patient as a teacher, I was not very patient with myself. I pushed myself to exhaustion instead of listening to my body.

Two things that worked this past week

1. I tend to plan too many meetings during my prep. I tried to honor my prep time, so I could accomplish much planning alone and/or with a colleague. This week, I hope to dedicate more time to grading.

2. In all the 22 years of teaching vocabulary, I have always written the sentences with context clues and left a blank for students to infer the right word.  In a recent workshop, I was reminded of the importance of letting the students use and repeat the words. After introducing the meanings, I provided sentence stems in which I used the new vocabulary word and students then completed the sentence with clues. This practice during class allows students to demonstrate understanding of the word: The young man asked his boss to augment his ____________, so he can _______________________. *Note the concerned vocabulary word is in bold.

Students then read their completed sentences to each other in small paired groupings. The focus is on the context clues.

I still create my traditional fill-in-the blank for tests, but this new method for class practice is the best thing I learned this week.

Wishing you all a healthy and productive week.


  1. I enjoyed reading your reflections. It is so important to take that time to think, reflect, & tweak. So, why is it so hard to make time for it a priority for so many of us? Have a great week!

  2. I love this format of 2 things that did not work and 2 things that worked. In the daily grind of teaching, planning, grading, responding to requests for more forms, etc., it's easy to get lost in the hamster wheel. And yet reflecting is integral to improving our craft.
    And yes to the importance of listening to your body!

  3. That's a great idea! Look - PD that actually helped your practice! :)

  4. I am so excited that your blogging intentions did not end on March 31! And I have always loved learning what you were doing in your teaching--so very glad to hear about your new way of having kids work with new words.

    I tried something really interesting a few years back, and the kids liked it. It also involved sentence-writing, and it combined syntax and literary analysis.Sometimes the focus was on new or important vocabulary; sometimes it was on the type of sentence (loose, periodic, compound, complex, compound-complex).

    The kids had to write five sentences about the literature we were reading--using a different but important word in each sentence, or writing 5 sentences all of the same assigned type. Three of the sentences needed to be true. One needed to be subtly false. The fifth could be wildly and wackily imaginative and possibly true or false.

    As a class, the kids looked at the sentences, which they'd written in groups of 3 or 4. In the small groups, the kids generally worked out confusions about the "real meanings" of words and about the grammar of the sentence type. So when we won't over them, about 1/3 of the time at most was about "right use/right structure" and 2/3 of the time was about the literature, as related to the claims the sentences made. The only criteria for the wacky sentences was that you had to write something you'd be comfortable showing to your parents.

    1. Ms. Soble, Thank you so much for the meaningful feedback. I have been quoting you all week. For the students' spoken word, my main advice is not to write anything they can't read in front of their parents or guardians. Thank you. I will also try the sentences exercises. Merci beaucoup.