Developing Critical Thinking: Cube Reading Strategy

IMG_20181005_144215753-COLLAGE

The cubing method is a flexible and adaptive way to differentiate instruction. Cubing is a method of instruction that allows teachers to provide six concepts or ideas to students in a simple way. Cubing is a great tool for providing differentiated instruction. It can be considered as a great tool for providing differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is a way of teaching that allows teachers to present content in multiple ways to accommodate the needs and learning styles of individual students. Cubing does just that.

  • What do you need?   A cube

images

 

  • Types of questions?   Each side of the cube might have a word related to comprehension. For example, one side might have the word who. Another has what. A third lists when. The fourth side says where. The fifth reads why and the sixth how.

With our fourth graders, we used cube reading strategy as a tuning in part of the Inquiry cycle where students were given six open ended questions about their unit of inquiry- Market Place. It proved a very effective way to attempt their KWL (Know, Want to know and Learned). Students were divided into various groups and the cube was rotated among them and they were instructed to write their inputs on the post-it. Later on, their response was shared in class and students jotted down common understanding and other information regarding the topic.

 

Cubing is a versatile, easy-to-use instructional thinking routine that adds a bit of randomness and chance to your lessons. It’s easy to differentiate and works well with both individuals and small groups of students.

 

Advertisements

School Pop up Bazaar !!

IMG-20180115-WA0018

Students had put up stalls for selling various handmade articles

The IB programme emphasizes that the assessment culture developed in a school must bring into line the objectives of the Primary year Programme. It puts together the assessment of inquiry based learning which is a crucial part of PYP framework. Assessment should be part of a process of teaching that enables students to understand the aims of their learning and how the quality of their achievement will be judged.

Our Grade 4 students had put up a live market in school as the summative assessment of the unit ‘ Market Place’. It was named ‘Le Kinder Haat’. Students decked up their stalls and counters with endless collection of handcrafted items starting from bookmarks, envelopes to cupcakes and muffins. During their inquiry, they explored how a market works. While learning about manufacturing , wholesaling and retailing, they also learnt how marketing of the products holds an important place in trade and commerce. They put charts and invitations in the most common areas of the school premises and even designed and distributed pamphlets to school mates and teachers. Along with that they also maintained an account of their manufacturing cost along with the selling price and concessions all of which they used to find out how much profit they have earned.

Pop up bazaar was a big hit as students explored a realistic learning out of it and observed it as a practical approach to handle customers. Each one of them independently joined in and presented themselves as good vendors. Moreover, as a ‘Taking Action’ part of the initiative, many of the students have decided to donate the funds collected through the bazaar to the deprived ones.

Learning is considered to be plenary only when it triggers creativity, ignites imagination and helps a child to see the real life application of anything by going beyond books.

Vocabulary Development Strategy: Frayer’s Model

frayer_model

Frayer’s model is a very supportive teaching strategy which utilizes a graphic organizer to make children comprehend difficult key concepts and is often considered a fantastic classroom management tool for vocabulary development. A graphic organizer isn’t just a worksheet, but a whole thinking routine. It helps students to present information and their understanding in a visual manner. They also take the intimidation out of writing assignments because students aren’t staring at a blank page.

This technique requires students to

(1) define the target vocabulary words or concepts

(2) apply this information by generating examples and non-examples. This information is placed on a chart that is divided into four sections to provide a visual representation for students.

Frayer’s Model is a beneficial strategy for students as it promotes critical thinking, can be used individually and in groups, and draws on students’ prior knowledge. It can be applied very well in various contexts and not just vocabulary development.

A graphic organizer can help your students keep better notes, understand difficult information, or stay awake during that less-than-enthralling lecture. Why not try one today?

 

Hands on Learning Strategy: Money Exchange

IMG_20171123_090435597

The International Baccalaureate accentuates the value of hands on learning throughout their program. Gone are the days when the teacher used to give lectures for endless hours and children learnt almost everything sitting passively. This is the era of interaction, activity, acquiring skill based learning and understanding concepts not just theoretically but with their practical application.

For our trans-disciplinary topic ‘Money’, my co educator and I instructed our students to bring their collection of different currencies and set up currency exchange counters in the classroom. We were quite surprised to find that there were so many numismatists in our class. We assisted our students to set up an exhibition of these currencies and collection which ranged from barter coins to Bitcoins. They also played Monopoly and made miniatures of market which further enabled them to learn how money is connected with market place.

IMG_20171123_095156253

Under this activity children learnt how to exchange from one currency to another. They noted down their amount in Indian currency and then went to several counters where they exchanged it in Dollars, Pounds , Dirham etc

IMG_20171128_150356846

Through this activity they could easily understand the arithmetical operations applied and how the world has changed into a global economy where money exchange holds a significant value.

Collaborative Reading Strategy: Literature Circle

clipart-of-children-playing-games

Literature Circle is a collaborative and pupil centered reading strategy in which pupils come together and take charge of their learning by reflecting upon a book which they all are reading. Students use their experiences to create meaning, make connections, and have lively discussions about the book . The strategy focuses upon thoughtful dialogue in consideration of sharing experiences and reach to a deeper understanding of the piece of literature.

I divided the students of Grade 4 into groups based on their skill set and competence. Then they were introduced to the five jobs:

  1. Summarizer– The one who gives a synopsis of the things read in his own language.
  2. Connector– The one who connects the incidents of the book with real life through sharing any incidents or stories connected with the text.
  3. Discussion Director– The one who holds a discussion among all the students by asking arguable questions.
  4. Vocabulary Enricher– The one who takes charge of finding the meanings and pronunciation of the new words from the text.
  5. Illustrator– The one who illustrates the ideas of the text through art.

In the first session itself students excitedly became part of the groups and prepared above expectations. They accepted their roles with surprise and efficiency. They all carried out their jobs quite successfully and were keen on doing this more than once in a week.

Literature circles are a strong language development and brainstorm strategy. It was a wonderful experience for me as a Grade Tutor to listen to their thoughts and ideas about the book. I appreciated their efforts and presented token of appreciation for the best five among them.

IMG_20171117_112131334_BURST000_COVER_TOP

Happy Reading ❤

Heritage Exhibition

Nowadays I’m teaching about Indian heritage in my History class. While describing the events, monuments, traditions and skills of olden times, I was thinking if I could give them a deep insight into the topic by going beyond the textbook.

One field trip to the museum would have helped but not much, one round of audio-visual clips would have triggered interest but not till the depth of the topic. There was a constant need to touch the things and feel it.

The thought struck me when we started discussing the skills of weaving and spinning. I was discussing different fabrics with them and then I realized how nice it would be if the students could actually touch the fabrics and realize the difference in each of them. After all, fabrics are meant to be touched and felt, not just discussed. This thought made me think what can be done for this by staying within the four walls of classroom and still exploring the beauty and glory of past. I wanted to surprise my students with something they didn’t expect their teacher would do on just another day.

Somebody once told me that we all should spend sometime thinking over the steps we want to take so that we’re able to deliver better.

Some words can get you started. I began to execute my plan. For me, it was a step ahead than the traditional. It was just a small effort for my children because they are special.

I collected different variety of fabrics, embroidery and thread work from different sources. Arranging them was a bit of task, but colleagues supported enough to get it done. A small exhibition displaying different fabrics, embroidery, other thread work, pictures and artefacts of ancient time with some encyclopedia were kept to enlighten them with something tangible and new. The heritage walk was followed by a feedback session in which I asked the students about what things they liked, what they remember and what changes they expect.

The outcome of the event is that now they look forward to the History class. There comes a time when being an educator we start over-preparing even for the not-so-important things, for we know someone is expecting more from us. The best thing about this Heritage walk is that the slow learners learnt few things out of it and I saw some new hands being raised in my History session which was a moment of proud for me as an educator.

Let your kids stumble

kid-on-leashjpg-e9f6fb483c5eac71_medium

 

In my rookie year of teaching, I’m challenged with a bunch of slow learners, a few mentally and physically challenged ones  and some really distracting students all at once. This is a hell lot to take care of when you have just started living your dream. But this isn’t what gets on my nerves. As a matter of fact, I suppose these challenges  and work pressure would make me learn something concrete which I can use in my upcoming teaching career. I take it as a preparation for even harder future experiences. It tests my patience, forbearance, my level of understanding of educational psychology, child psychology, knowledge of my subjects, my behaviour with students, their parents and other staff members. And trust me, I only want to excel in this. I have no other option. I can’t let myself to be overwhelmed and carried away by anything.

In my expedition of learning how to teach and tackle kids mentioned above, it is not the kids who make me go mad, but their parents who are so overprotective of them. They have a hard time in accepting their child’s faults, inaccuracy and misdeed. Parents often fail to understand the fact that kids at elementary level need attention and time both from parents and teachers. Most of the time, it’s only the teachers, who are supposed to use a magical wand and make their ward learn every single thing in school without any attention being paid to them at home. They expect us to tackle them with utmost love and care, which is I agree we should, as long as things work that way. But, to be true and being in this profession now for a while, I can claim that some level of strictness and discipline is required to make them do things. Obviously, by saying that I do not mean to discourage them by shouting at them and creating an environment of terror in the classroom.

 

overparenting_l

 

Over-parenting To be frank, in my case individual difference is the reason which many a times makes me punish  them for not doing and listening to what they are asked to. Parents do not accept the shortcomings of their child. They do not allow them to stumble and to learn to problem-solve. The point they are missing here is that by doing this they are preventing their child to learn important lessons which they will later need in their adulthood. Parents guilty of over-parenting takes their child’s perception as truth, absolutely neglecting the facts. They would believe their child over the teacher and would go on criticizing the educator’s potential and school’s administration. What they do, is to deny the probability that their child was at fault or would even do something of that nature. This affects the independence of education poorly.

These are the kind of parents who worry a responsible and dedicated educator the most. They won’t let their child learn. They highly overlook and sometimes totally ignore the value of learning and understanding. They would curse the teachers for low grades and would choose to do not give a little bit of thought towards the problem. Teachers do not just teach course based concepts or fine motor skills; we teach to be organized, well-mannered, how to be responsible for your doings, how to handle victory and rejections, to be mentally prepared to handle challenges of upcoming life and the real world. And as we know, these things may not matter to them today, but, as the child would land his flight beyond those four walls, these are the things that are going to show their impact on him. This simple aspect is generally disregarded.

I’m not suggesting to have a blind faith in educators and let them do it their own way, no matter however that be. But, some amount of trust is needed. Efforts from parents and teachers, both is necessary. It’s vital that parents must know that making mistakes is important. No body learns to be perfect without being imperfect. They should learn to accept the failure of their child and should come forward to give a helping hand to teachers, so that the task becomes easy. It is more like a mutual thing.

 

BlameGame

 

Negative feedback It seems harsh and difficult to take on. I agree whether good, bad or neutral, feedback gives us a lot of thought to ponder upon and the tone in which it is sprinkled upon us have a huge impact on us. It might just ruin or made your day. Yet, it must be taken and welcomed open-handedly. It is difficult to accept our own or our child’s imperfections and incompetency. But to fail for a while is way more beneficial than to be an utter failure throughout the life. This is the most important thing parents and guardians should understand.

When a teacher gives negative feedback about your child, he doesn’t mean to disrespect you or sweep aside your ward’s credentials. He only cares about the future consequences of his wrong doings today. It is important that parents determine the usefulness of this temporary negative feedback. Teachers and parents, both should work together in turning the negative feedback into a positive one, only then we can expect any improvement in child’s potential.

 

 

To keep their kids from falling off side, they are micromanaging their lives, avoiding and fulminating against schools and institutions. This is not taking their child anywhere but permanent deterioration. I’m waiting for a day when an educator will be trusted and appreciated for his extra efforts to make a child better than before and to turn him into a more competent and responsible adult. Please allow your kids to fail, allow them to take independent steps and have some amount of faith in their teachers, who are working for the welfare of your child and their future.