Category: 30 Day Challenge

30 Days = 28 Blogs

30 Days = 28 Blogs

This year instead of setting a year long resolution I decided to set mini thirty day challenges. My first challenge was to write at least one blog post per day for thirty days. I almost made it. My final tally was twenty eight blog posts in thirty days. Up next 30 days = 30 days of learning to code on Codecademy.com! 

Stoplight System for Quick Checking For Understanding

Stoplight System for Quick Checking For Understanding

Today I wanted to share the stoplight quick assessment technique that I “borrowed” from a teacher who I used to work with.  I use the stoplight system to quickly gauge my student’s understanding of a lesson. Using this quick check for understanding has allowed me to modify my lessons on the spot.

To use the stoplight system students need to assess and identify themselves as either a green, yellow, or red light. After a lesson I will ask my students “Who feels green light? Who feels yellow light? Who feels red light?”  I normally have students raise their hand after each question because it’s quick and saves time. If you wanted to you could also have students vote with their thumbs, move to different areas in the room, or any other creative idea that you have!

Below is a brief description of each light.

Green = Ready to move on. I understand everything. Give me a test I’ll pass!!!! 

Yellow = Slow down. I have a few questions. I’m not sure how I’ll do on a test. 

Read = Whoa…….I need help. I don’t understand this topic. 

When you first start many of your students may say they are green light when in reality they are yellow or even red. No one likes to admit that they don’t understand. One thing that I constantly do with my students is let them know that they are not being graded on the level that they choose. This quick check in is to make sure that everyone understands before we move on. When I first teach this technique to my students I always share with them what one of my fourth grade students told me. If you feel like your students are not being honest feel free to share with them the wisdom of a fourth grader.

If you always say you are green you are only hurting yourself. It’s cool to say you’re yellow or red. That way you get the help you need.

-Ryan

Writers Block

Writers Block

Writers block is not fun. I have been starting at my blank WordPress window for over an hour now trying to think of what to write about and nothing is coming to mind. I know there are several things I want to write about yet I can not find the right words to create a blog post. I sometimes feel like this when creating a lesson. I can come up with this great idea in my head that is going to wow and amaze my students yet when I open up my lesson plan documents I freeze. All of the sudden all of my great ideas go out the door and I’m stuck looking at a blank template wondering what I’m going to do.

So what do you do? What I’ve found works best for me is to just start writing. Don’t worry about the content just start writing and eventually you will think of something. Like right now. As I wrote this I realized I could share a lesson idea that I do with my students. At the beginning of my ELA classes I will post a random prompt or picture on the board. As my students enter they are instructed to sit down and just start writing for 8-10 minutes. During these stream of consciousness writing sessions they are instructed to not worry about spelling and grammar. Instead we focus on  responding to a prompt. I have found that by eliminating the focus on spelling and grammar that my students are more willing to experiment with their writing. After the 8-10 minutes we then spend about 3-4 minutes wandering around the room and sharing with a partner. After those 3-4 minutes we then have 1 or 2 volunteers share their work with the class. My students love this process and have commented that it has helped them improve their writing skills.

I know this is not a ground breaking idea. In fact I’m sure at some point I “borrowed” it from someone else so feel free to steal it and use it in your classroom.

-Ryan

Ps I used the process above to write this blog post so please forgive any spelling or grammar mistakes.