As teachers our jobs often extend well beyond just the academic aspect of education. We find ourselves building students’ leadership skills, supporting their social and emotional development, and teaching them what it looks like to be a civic-minded citizen in order to help them thrive beyond the walls of our classrooms.
Now more than ever it is important to create a classroom where students support each other, learn from each other, and learn through active engagement. To support a balanced literacy classroom, we want students to not only be excited about learning, but also invested in the work they are doing. Planning instruction that actively engages learners allows us to reach and teach all of our students.
Writing. Every teacher will acknowledge its importance in education. As I visit schools across the country, teachers often share the challenge of teaching writing across the curriculum—especially in mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, and other content areas—and often lament the quality of writing that students are producing.
There’s no doubt that many students can become guarded when we ask them to share out ideas in class. The peer pressure and thought of putting ideas out there can be very intimidating for lots of students. So, how do we create a classroom where our students can feel comfortable to engage in the necessary communication skills we’re expected to teach? Here are few ideas to try
“The ball is in your court!” The words and phrases spoken to our students by the adults interacting with them can be a predictor of their long-term expressive vocabulary. Although we use less than 4,000 words on a regular basis in everyday conversation, we know about 20,000 words that consist of words we use less often, but articulate specific nuances, as well as topic-specific words that we use in business communication. As teachers, this puts the ball in our court to find ways to expose our st