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Unfurling Curiosity: Alchemy of Words: Snip It #12

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It unfurls. The silent action, somehow picks up a sound, air meets texture. It unwinds, unrolls, expands. A simple gesture, the a flick of the wrist, and a pattern emerges, bounded in a sort of wizardry. A conjuring of concepts and meaning occurs. A flash of conclusion: reachable when  perception and conception, merge. When the fabric of learning, stretches the imagination, causing a moment of unsettling, as what students, thought they knew, comes into question. The colors, once blended in a patchwork, brighten and distinguish themselves.

Now a distinct, template of prior knowledge, heightened with allurement and enchantment. An unheard incantation, drawing them in. They have known of such fascination before, they lean in to it, as if gazing into a crystal ball. The din rises, as their expectation magnifies. No longer are their chairs a seat, resting spots. They become a launching pad. Bodies slowly rise, looking around, for the gaze of another mesmerized soul. Inch by inch, they cree…

Receding or Reseeding: After An Unexpected Respite: Snip It #11

Coming back from an unexpected respite is always difficult. Today was no exception. Students felt pressure, the moment they entered the building. Most of their classes, piled on extra homework or over-lapped quizzes and tests, due to the end, of the grading period. Students were walking around in a haze. Actually, so were teachers, who were in a state of adaptating and tweaking lessons, to best complete their unit, in an expeditious time-frame.

What I realized, as I myself, was formulating a game-plan, was that it all comes down to a defining moment- as a teacher are you going to approach this recovery time, as one of receding or reseeding? Will students be given different options, on which to make-up the information, or will they be given, specific, excessive, mundane, homework to get caught up? Of course there is middle ground, you could offer a few, productive, meaningful, handouts, but for me at least, I prefer not to. I want to get creative.

To me, receding, to move back from a p…

Do You Have a Teacher Tell? Would You Tell Us if You Did?: Snip It #10

Let me start off by saying, yes, I have a tell. What type of tell? There are two definitions of a tell: in Archeology a tell, is an artificial mound, of accumulated refuse, left behind by occupants, of a given area. In other words, the muck and sludge, that we have to traverse, to get to higher ground. In poker, a tell is a player's behavior or demeanor, generally quiet, that gives away clues, as to what they are clasping, in their hand. Are they gripping a four of a kind, a full house, or a losing hand? They are the myriad of circumstances, the cynosure of high and low, ensemble, and profile, of what has been presented to us. Ultimately, how we are going to arrange and swap our cards, to make the best, of what we have been dealt.

I have pondered this, the last few days. When students are observing me, as I present their lesson, share anecdotes, reveal the mystery, of the activity or lab- is my tell obvious? Is it consistent? Is it positive? How can I, as a teacher, emanate an opt…

Disentanglement: Unraveling The Mystery: Snip It #9

Two snow days in a row. Crazy. Houston is colder than Denver. When does that happen? Now, actually, causing, disentanglement of a lesson plan. Monday was spent getting a well-oiled machine, tuned and prepped, for a four day week. Now, it has become a two day week. Adaption and compaction. I see this as an opportunity to do what I do best, get creative. The same information has to be taught, but how can I stream-line the content and keep it engaging? Vocabulary has been taught, its the networking of concepts, that was in place for this week. I need to liberate the activities that many would shelve, due to this weather absence.

Emancipation of student-centered enterprises- I refuse to fall back on worksheets, because we have missed two days of school. Students need even more activeness and liveliness, after an unexpected vacancy. Harvey taught us this earlier this year.

I am planning my 'return' activity now. Our unit is Genetics and the topic, is how do genes play a role in her…

Fundamental 5: Strategies for Critical Writing and Purposeful Talk: Snip It #8

The Fundamental 5 is both: a book by Sean Cain and Mike Laird and also a formula to make sure that you are giving quality, focused instruction. It consists of 5 methods you can implement to keep your classroom purposeful and relevant.

The first strategy is framing the lesson: having clear objectives, visually and authentically, discussed with students. The second strategy is work in the power zone, teachers are among students, talking and interacting, rather than sitting at their desk. In the classroom using frequent, small group, purposeful talk, for example think-pair-share, is the third strategy. This is a great way to listen and make sure students are understanding the lesson, strategy 4, for teachers to recognize and reinforce material. Finally, there is a focus on writing critically: purposeful note-taking, summary paragraphs or ticket's out the door. Together, these 5 strategies can help a teacher, with time-management, lesson flow and ultimately, help improve student growt…

Grit to Gravel: Layers of Cementation: Snip It #7

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Grit, to me at least, is that dusty, powdery stuff you inhale on a sandy beach or off-roading. You can feel it coat your teeth, it gets stuck in your mouth. Both irritating and choking. Never have I seen the word grit and thought challenging or vigorous learning, is taking place. Gravel, albeit, just larger pebbles to me represents, solid ground, a sturdiness you walk upon to reach your destination. That is why we see it, on so many paths and driveways. It holds the location tight, when water and mud, invade its cracks and crevices. In my lessons, it is both integral and purposeful, but it tends to stay, on the more visual side of things, observable like the myriad of colors, that gravel projects.

This last week, my GT students, rather than taking notes on the large list of Genetics vocabulary, were put into groups and given 4 words to investigate. Then they reported on these concepts, to the class. On Friday, they shared their words: with analogies, a scientific article on their '…

Pardon Me While I Teach: Snip It #6

Teaching is personalized. We all have our vision, of what great teaching and not so good teaching looks like. I know for me, I absolutely never want to be good, I want to be great. I want to enter my room and let loose. Try new things, never assign homework and put the majority, of the responsibility, in the hands, of my students. At the end of the day, they should be exhausted, not me. I buy so many books, on education, from Amazon, that my FED EX guy knows me, by name. Seriously, he rings the bell and as I open the door, he waves and says "Hello, Melissa, happy reading." I love to read new perspectives, because it only helps me, enhance my own. 

As the famous saying goes "No need to reinvent the wheel." Improve upon it yes. But, if the wheel is sound and well-structured and working, to its fullest potential, without incident, maybe we could not try, to add new spokes, or hubcaps, just for decoration. The latest fad, may have some aspects that would be beneficial …