How often do your students tell you they are all done with their work or assignment and the second you look at it, you notice they’ve missed a huge part of the task? Teaching your students to self-reflect accurately is very challenging because students are usually unrealistic. They are either too hard on themselves or clueless about how little they’ve done.[Read more…] about How to Teach Students to Self-Assess
Do you have students in your classroom you would label as reluctant readers? A reluctant reader is usually considered to be a person who doesn’t read for pleasure, but we’re about to debunk that myth and help you out in your classroom by giving you strategies to engage reluctant readers in ways you didn’t even know you needed.[Read more…] about Strategies for Reluctant Readers
Are you tired of wasting your valuable time searching high and low for the weather lessons you need for your upper elementary students? There are so many weather activities all over Pinterest, but we find most of the weather lessons are for preschoolers- not exactly what our students need.
We focus on creating materials for teachers who teach the same things to the same age we do. Most of what we create comes from not being able to find what we need. Weather worksheets are just plain boring and not at all aligned with our teaching style, so we’ve created weather experiments and activities that we use in our classroom. We want to help you by putting everything in one place so you don’t have to use all your time collecting lessons from all over the place.
Concept Based Instruction? Is this just a new fad? Hoping it will pass and nothing will change? This is the new direction in education and we believe is here to stay even if it isn’t mandated. It just makes sense! It took us awhile to wrap our heads around what this looks like in a classroom…practically. And we are still learning! Here is what we’ve learned so far.
What is it?
Concept based instruction focuses on using content (topics, facts, and skills) to uncover the actual learning concept and the relationship between different concepts. It is multi-dimensional and looks at what students need to know, understand and do. The learning of overarching concepts helps students to transfer the learning to new situations. The goal is to get students to think at higher levels, to have students move from just learning facts to being able to make generalizations that apply to new learning. Familiar with Understanding by Design? Planning concept based instruction parallels backwards design. Familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy? Concept based instruction includes different levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.
What does “concept” mean?
A concept refers to a big idea that students must understand and not just know and do. It is abstract, timeless and universal. For example, a traditional unit of study might include the study of the War of 1812, or World War I or World War II. Using a concept based approach, the concept could be: power, technology, conflict or identity (among other possibilities). If identity was the chosen concept then the big idea could be framed as: War can shape the way a country thinks about itself and the way other people perceive it. If technology was the chosen concept then the big idea could be framed as: Technology can change the outcomes of war over time. In both of these examples the War of 1812, World War I and World War II are used as ‘case studies’ to exemplify the chosen concept.
This post just barely scratches the surface but gets us thinking about the idea of concept based instruction. We will be exploring the different aspects of concept based teaching in a series of short posts. What do you already know about concept based instruction? What are you hoping to learn? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
We love picture books and use them all the time in our classroom as mentor texts or to illustrate writer’s craft. We love books that highlight kindness and use them all year with our students. We’re always on the search for new books, but here are some of the best kindness books we’ve found and use all year.[Read more…] about Books About Kindness
Usually we talk about Chinese New Year but did you know that many other countries celebrate the new year at the same time? In Vietnam it is called Tết and South Korea it is known as Seollal. These new year celebrations are based on the lunar calendar which is calculated using the movement of the Earth around the Sun and the Moon around the Earth. Because of this, lunar new year is celebrated some time in January or February. This time of year is a time when families gather, share food and many local traditions. [Read more…] about 15 Picture Books for Lunar New Year