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But My Students Don't Know This Stuff!

Sometimes I'll lead my students to some activities where they are expected to answer questions where they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?

But My Students Don't Know This Stuff!

I've been doing some reading, and I've found some research that proves children really do learn from an activity that requires guessing. In fact, these challenges are good for them, and enhance learning! The key? Making sure they get immediate feedback.
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
If the children are doing an activity where they have to guess at something, it gets them thinking. Once they've thought about it, they'll take a guess. If they get immediate feedback, they'll learn!  

Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
It's just like watching Jeopardy! Every time I watch, I learn more facts, even when I didn't know them before I watched! Guessing helps the brain learn! (Thanks, Alex!)
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
This sort of activity can be repeated over and over. Each time it's repeated, they'll remember more. As they repeat the activity, there will be less guessing and more remembering! 

Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
This is a perfect type of activity for students to work on while you're working with individuals or small groups.
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
These are perfect for your "fast finishers" or children that need a little extra challenge after their work is complete.
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?

Plus, reading random questions counts as reading practice. They do need to be reading every day, right?


Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?

They can work alone, but working with a friend brings valuable conversation! You know, the conversations that help them think through and remember information!
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
Did I mention how much the children love this stuff? Seriously, they love learning new material!

Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
I know what you're thinking... but I'm having enough trouble fitting in everything I have to teach already! Yes, I know, but this isn't just "another thing to do." It's something to enhance what's already happening!
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
But what about the standards? Yeah, I thought you might be concerned about that one. I'll tell you a little secret:

Teaching isn't all about the standards. 
Teaching is about enriching the lives of the kids.
 
Shocking, I know. Can you imagine if administrators heard me say that? Well, I'll tell you another little secret:

I'm not here to impress the administrators. 
I'm here to make a difference in the lives of children.
 
Well, I'm not really that much of a rebel, but I really do want to make a difference in the lives of the children. (And yes, the standards DO matter, but there's so much more to kids!)

Now I suppose you're wondering where to find these activities that keep kids guessing!

Well, here's a freebie to get you started:
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
Looking for more? Well, here's a fun one:
Here are a few more:
Facts About Space (Boom Cards)
 
Most of these activities will enhance the children's knowledge with very little work on the teacher's part. Plus, teachers can see their results easily for all those Boom Cards! 

Here are some links to articles about how guessing help students learn.
  

How do you challenge your students beyond what they already know?

Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?


Five Reasons for Children to Read "Out Soft"

My students read "out soft" for many reasons in the classroom.
Five Reasons for Children to Read "Out Soft" This simple strategy can help children in a variety of situations in and out of the classroom.

First of all, I'll bet you've already figured out the meaning of "out soft." Although I made up the term, the students understand what it means right away. I'll introduce this idea at the very beginning of the school year, and make sure the students know that reading "out soft" means the children are able to hear their own voice as they reads, but wouldn't disturb the person sitting next to them. An adult might call this "barely audible." As you might have guessed, it's the opposite of "out loud," which requires volume and projection. You might call it whispering, but the term "out soft" is just more fun!
 
We practice. Some children, by nature, struggle with turning down the volume and turning off the projection, but they do get it.Once they get it, they are empowered!

 
This little trick has helped many little ones. Plus, it has helped me as well! Sometimes directions are hard to understand, but I've found that when reading those same directions loud enough to hear yourself, they can make a whole lot more sense! Seriously, how many times has a child come to you confused about written directions... then you ask the child to read the directions to you, and suddenly they'll say, "Oh, I get it!"  Works like a charm!
 
 
I always start reading groups with a warm up. The children are trained to arrive at the reading table, choose one of their books, and start reading "out soft." This not only prevents down time while waiting for the stragglers, but it gives me a chance to listen in and do some assessing. Sometimes I'll give them something specific to warm up with. 
 
Studies show reading words in phrases increases fluency, so I often have the children warm up with these phrases: Fry Sight Word Phrases One little hint: be sure the sight words are easy for the children so they can build the fluency when practicing them as phrases.
 
These sets are similar to the above, using different lists. Reading Warm Up Phrases
 
 
As you know, many children struggle to concentrate on independent reading. They are distracted by just about anything, including their own thoughts. I find having these children read "out soft" really helps them pay attention to their reading!

Reading with a peer is a wonderful strategy that should be used frequently in the classroom. Think about it, 50% of the children are all practicing their reading skills, while the other 50% are listening and guiding the readers. It's a win-win! Plus, the children love it! But when all the children are interacting at once, they'll need to be reading "out soft!"
 
When children hear themselves, it helps the memory. This works with word reading (see #2) as well as important science facts, and even math facts! When I use these practice cards with my students, I encourage lots of repetition, but I also encourage the children to say the entire fact "out soft." Fact Fluency Practice Cards
 
 
This same system is available on Boom Learning:  Boom Learning Fact Fluency System Bundle

How else can children learn by reading "out soft?"


Five Reasons for Children to Read "Out Soft" This simple strategy can help children in a variety of situations in and out of the classroom.

What Are You Doing This Summer?

Congratulations on making it through this school year!

 
I don't know about you, but it usually takes me about a week of being a total slug before I'm ready to think about what's next. 
 

Then it's time to get going. What is next?

 
If you're working with children this summer, it's best to build community with some teamwork games! Check out this blog post: Working at Summer Camp? Or Summer School? How to Get Started!
 
What Are You Doing This Summer? This blog post has several suggestions, ideas, and freebies for teachers who will be working with children this summer.

If you're working with children this summer, it's GOT to be fun! Whether you're teaching summer school, tutoring, or working summer camp or day care, you've got to do something to get those kiddos to "buy in!" For most, themes are the way to go! The image below brings you to a blog post with many ideas for bringing a camping theme to your program. See Camping Week!

What Are You Doing This Summer? This blog post has several suggestions, ideas, and freebies for teachers who will be working with children this summer.
 
Another fun theme that has plenty of ways for summer learning fun, take a "trip" to the beach! Seashore Week!

 
Whether or not it's an Olympic year, you can have your own Olympics. Boy, do the kiddos love this one! Academic Summer Games: A Celebration of Learning!
 
What Are You Doing This Summer? This blog post has several suggestions, ideas, and freebies for teachers who will be working with children this summer.

 Looking for a little something to get you started? This post shares 6 different freebies that will get you going for summer learning fun! A Few Summer Freebies!

No matter what your plans are this summer, there's no doubt that pampering yourself is in order!  Here are 5 things you'll want to think about doing this summer: 5 Summer "Must Dos" for Teachers

What Are You Doing This Summer? This blog post has several suggestions, ideas, and freebies for teachers who will be working with children this summer.

No matter what you're doing this summer, I hope that it is spectacular!

 
What Are You Doing This Summer? This blog post has several suggestions, ideas, and freebies for teachers who will be working with children this summer.

 

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School?

What do we really need to do those last few weeks of school?

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!

Hopefully, by this point in the year, you are done with testing, and pretty much finished with all the "have tos."  Even if you're not quite done teaching everything, I hope you have some time for some end of the year fun!
 

Here are some things you can put into your plans for the last few weeks of school:

 
1. Deepen Learned Skills
 
How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!
 
Brain research tells us that we need to review skills in order to maintain them and to deepen them. That means fun activities and games to practice those important skills you've built all year! 
 
This bundle has several fun options for reviewing and deepening skills!
How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!
 
2. Prepare for summer habits

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!
 
We want our students to continue some important habits they've developed through the school year. This is a great time to introduce some fun games!
 
Here are the links to a few posts that tell about classroom games that can be played at home:
 

 
How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!

Plus, here's one to encourage them to enjoy reading! (This is one you can work on all year!)

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!


3. Make the Last Days Special

 

It's time for using those skills they've worked on all year for some fun projects!

It's a perfect time of year for putting on a play or performance of some sort. These activities build important reading skills as well as building community and team work.  Here's a post with more information on Dramatics in the Classroom


I absolutely LOVE Boom Learning Digital Task Cards! These are easy to assign, and the students love them! Check out this bundle: Science and Social Studies Vocabulary Building Bundle
 

These are a great way to develop vocabulary for Science and Social Studies. They use brain researched strategies such as Retrieval Practice, which is explained here:

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!

4. Share Memories


How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!

This is a great time of year to sit back and enjoy the special memories the group has made this year. 
 
It's easy to make a memory book, or a slide show with photos from the year. I've always had the children write down their favorite memories from the year a few weeks before the end of the school year. This gives me time to type things up into a nice book. I've also found parents are quite helpful in donating photos from school events.

These are special memories for them (and you) to cherish forever. I still have memory books from many years past, and I love remembering my former students!
 
5. Enjoy them
How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!
My favorite thing to do at the end of the school year is to take the time to enjoy these special children. I know, it's not easy! Between end of year testing, packing up the classroom, and report cards, there's little time left. But these kids are totally worth it, aren't they?  Here's a blog post that suggests some fun ways to enjoy the students. Take time to Enjoy them!
 

Enjoy these last few weeks with your students!

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!



 

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom

 In the mid 1980s I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test and found out I was an ISFJ.

That stands for: Introverted/ Sensing/ Feeling/ Judging. 

That's my personality type. It took me a while, but after a lot of research, I grew to understand and appreciate what it all means, and who I am.

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

The part I struggled with the most? The introverted part. I guess I just didn't understand what an introvert is. I knew I enjoyed my time with people, so I must be an extrovert, right?

Then I realized I was stuck on myths and didn't quite understand what those words meant.  

 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Here Are Some MYTHS About Introverts:

  • Introverts are shy.
  • Introverts want to be alone.
  • Introverts are anti-social.
  • Introverts are quiet.
  • Introverts don't take risks.
  • Introverts don't like fun.
  • Introverts are hard to get to know.

Here Are Some MYTHS About Extroverts:

(Note: Sometimes this is spelled extravert. Either spelling is acceptable.)
  • Extroverts love to talk.
  • Extroverts are happier than introverts.
  • Extroverts are more confident.
  • Extroverts don't listen.
  • Extroverts are loud.
  • Extroverts are "attention hogs."
  • Extroverts are the "life of the party."
  • Extroverts don't experience anxiety.
  • Extroverts never need "alone time" 
  • Extroverts are easy to get to know 
There is some truth to most of these statements about introverts and extroverts, but there is a whole lot more to these stories!
 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Here Are Some TRUTHS About Introverts:

  • Introverts are quickly drained by social interaction.
  • Introverts enjoy alone time.
  • Introverts are good listeners.
  • Introverts are reflective.
  • Introverts are observers.
  • Introverts prefer small groups or one-on-one to large groups 
  • Introverts prefer to think things through before talking or acting.
  • Introverts take longer to make decisions.
  • Introverts like time with friends, but prefer to do it on own terms.
  • Introverts experience anxiety about making phone calls.
  • Introverts prefer to write rather than talk.
  • Introverts have difficulty with multitasking and adjusting to a constantly changing environment.
  • Introverts need quiet to concentrate.
  • Introverts can be perceived as "stand-offish" or even "snobby,"
  • Introverts don't like being the center of attention, but don't want to be ignored.

Here Are Some TRUTHS About Extroverts

  • Extroverts don't mind being the center of attention, and often love it.
  • Extroverts take well to networking.
  • Extroverts show feelings easily.
  • Extroverts love to talk.
  • Extroverts prefer to talk through problems.
  • Extroverts make quick decisions.
  • Extroverts prefer to work with background noise.
  • Extroverts get bored when alone for long periods.
  • Extroverts acts before thinking.
  • Extroverts feel energized and inspired by socializing.

 Now Here's One BIG Truth About Introverts and Extroverts:

 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

It's a scale! No one is completely introverted or completely extroverted!

We all draw from both sides!

Sometimes people use the term "ambiverts" for people who fall near the middle of the scale. I prefer not to use that term because pretty much everyone shows indicators of both preferences at some point. However, most people lean more toward one preference or the other.

Here's a quote from THIS article that explains it well:

"Extroversion and introversion refer to where people receive energy from. Extroverts are energized by socializing in larger groups of people, having many friends, instead of a few intimate ones while introverts are energized by spending time alone or with a smaller group of friends

The big takeaway: It’s not how you act but what situations you thrive in and get energy from." 

 

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Well-Known Introverts

  • Bill Gates
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Meryl Streep
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Emma Watson
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Elton John
  • Lady Gaga
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Albert Einstein
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
 Well-Known Extroverts
  • Oprah
  • Tom Hanks
  • Steve Jobs
  • Bill Clinton
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Jim Carrey
  • Madonna
  • Winston Churchill
  • Ben Franklin
  • Beyonce 
 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Believe it or not, I recently read this information (in THIS article) that shows a significant difference in how brains react.

"Introvert brains react differently to dopamine than extrovert brains do. That's a chemical that turns on the reward- and pleasure-seeking part of your brain. Introverts and extroverts have the same amount of the chemical, but extrovert brains get an excited buzz from their reward center. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to just feel run-down by it."

I've been studying this stuff since the 80s, and this really explains WHY we have these personality differences! We're chemically different!

I suspect by now you've thought about which side of the scale you fall upon, as well as your students. One thing to be careful about: when introverts are comfortable with someone, they'll become quite chatty! Don't let that lead you to believe they're extroverted! (Many people have confused me with being an extrovert because I become passionate about certain things, like brain research, and won't stop talking about it!) 

There are plenty of introverts as well as extroverts in your classroom. (Studies show it's close to 50-50.) It's impossible to cater to all their needs, all the time. (Nor is it in their best interest.) But here are some suggestions for supporting each preference and helping them be successful in your classroom.

 

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Suggestions to Support the Introverts in Your Classroom:

  • Make sure there are "quiet" times in your classroom.
  • Give them time to think before they are expected to talk.
  • Know their interests and passions and encourage these.
  • Be sure to have one-on-one time with these students.
  • Post a daily schedule and stick to a routine so they'll know what's coming up.
  • Do "Reader's Theater" or a class play. (Believe it or not, many introverts shine with these genres!)
  • Make sure there are places where they can be by themselves. (nooks and crannies)
  • Help them work to develop friendships. (This is very difficult for introverts!)
  • Use notes or email for communication.
  • Remember, introverts get lonely, too! Make sure they have interactions with others and an opportunity to bond with classmates. Just keep it on a small scale!

 

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Suggestions to Support the Extroverts in Your Classroom:

In general, most classrooms are designed for extroverts. (Just look at the amount of students in the room!)
  • Give them plenty of opportunities to talk.
  • Let them "call out" sometimes, without require raising hands.
  • Give choices: work alone, with a partner, with a group.
  • Give choices: oral report, written report.
  • Allow for group discussions on what they're learning and books they've read.
  • Be flexible with the schedule.
  • Embrace them. 
 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs
 

Suggestions to Support the All Students in Your Classroom:

  • Share information about introversion and extroversion and help them understand who they are. Make sure they know they are an important part of the classroom!
  • Include Morning Meeting in your day, and make it clear that this is a safe place.
  • Be a role model, verbalizing your respect for the differences in students. Show that you celebrate those differences. 
  • When setting up your classroom, include areas for large groups, small groups, and individuals. Let children use them all.
  • Give choices: work alone, with a partner, with a group.
  • Give choices: oral report, written report.
  • Give choices: read with a partner, read alone. 
  • Touch base with all students daily, whether it be a group conversation, a one-on-one conversation, or just a quick not. They all need you.
  • Don't hesitate to challenge them by going out of their comfort zone, but only a bit. (We don't want to traumatize them!)
  • Embrace them for who they are. Celebrate who they are. Enjoy who they are. 

Years ago, I did a series of posts about the Myers-Briggs Personality Types, which I learned about during my Masters program. Here's a post about Introversion and Extroversion:

Myers-Briggs Part 2: How Do You Find Your Energy?

 
The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator Part 2: How do you find your energy?

When I grew to truly understand what an introvert is, I grew to be proud of who I am. Unfortunately, this didn't happen until I was in my 30s. Hopefully, our children will learn who they are an appreciate themselves at a much younger age!

 

The Final Lesson:

All types need each other! 

 

Introverts become artists, writers, architects, librarians, psychologists, scientists, chefs, ITs, journalists, and accountants. 

 
Extroverts become managers, real estate agents, lawyers, politicians, salespeople, managers, event planners, nurses, life coaches, and human relations specialists.

Don't we need ALL these people? Of course, since most people fall closer to the middle of both preferences, our children really can be anything we want to be!

And I've known many, many teachers who fall under both preferences who are highly successful!

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs


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