More Than a Seating Chart

November 22, 2009

For a short week, a simple idea. I stole this one from Tracey Moore, who stole if from someone else.

After you fill out your seating charts, laminate them. Even better, buy a laminate sleeve for each seating chart and put a sheet of cardboard inside behind the seating chart. You can write on the laminate with wet erase markers, making it easy to record data during a class session and wipe it away later. Here are a few of Ms. Moore’s uses, and a couple suggestions of my own, for the strategy:

  • Record absences and check in/checkout times.
  • Make marks for class participation (times you called on a student or times a student responded correctly).
    Record discipline infractions, warnings delivered, or even observations of positive behavior (on-task performance, raising hands rather than calling out, listening attentively).
  • Record homework and class work completion.

Obviously, you don’t want to write extensive notes on these sheets, and you will have to transfer the data elsewhere. You’ll also have to clean them daily or weekly. And you’ll want to use them consistently, but I imagine if they become a part of your routine, they will keep you organized and help you record and recall important information about daily happenings in your class.

Deliberate Practice

November 14, 2009

“Expert performers…are nearly always made, not born.”

Natural Talent
In their book Superfreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner tackle a vast array of intriguing topics, from the economics of prostitution to the algorithms that identify terrorists. Citing Dr. K. Anders Ericson, they write, “The trait we call natural talent is vastly overrated.” What determines success, according to Ericson, is deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice has three key components: setting specific goals, obtaining immediate feedback, concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.

Deliberate Practice
What does this mean for teachers? Keep reading »

Grunt Work

November 4, 2009

Out of Time

It can be difficult—sometimes impossible—to find time to learn and try new instructional strategies and technology. When you aren’t in the classroom, you are preparing lessons, filling out paper work, dealing with discipline, monitoring hallways, attending meetings and grading papers. Let’s face it; sometimes it would be easier if someone just did some of the work for you.

That’s where I come in. Keep reading »