Do you need some convincing about how you can effectively use task cards in the classroom? Do you like the idea of task cards, but don’t have the time to make them? All that printing and laminating and cutting can look like it’s not worth your time. Well, we have some solutions to get the most out of task cards for your students in the least amount of time for you. Keep on reading to find out how we use them and why we think they’re so valuable.[Read more…] about The Trouble With Task Cards
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
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.
How often do you give your students a book and they can’t find any information in it? It seems if a page isn’t blinking and flashing they can’t seem to work it. Explicitly teaching text features can help your students understand how to process information better. This won’t just help with their reading, but it will help with all of their research, following directions and locating information quickly in all their subject areas. [Read more…] about Research Skills: Text Features
Sometimes students don’t understand how time is of the essence when doing research. They lack the skills to use text features, skim materials and find items quickly.
We’ve been working on this with our students and it’s a struggle year after year.
However, we have managed to find some activities that help students refine their research skills: scavenger hunts. It turns out that making research fun and game-like can have a positive impact on how students complete research. [Read more…] about Research Skills: Scavenger Hunts