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Transcript of Teaching Strategies
Using Anchor ACtivities
Anchor activities are a common strategy used by teachers in differentiated classrooms. These different activities such as journal writing, reading, and practicing skills (math, spelling, vocabulary) are usually taught in the beginning of the school year. The goal of anchor activities is to "free up" time for the teacher so he/she may work more directly with small groups or individuals. Having anchor activities keeps students busy and occupied, while still working on improving skills. Using anchor activities in the classroom lessens the chance of disruptive behavior and kids sitting around doing nothing. I feel like I could definitely apply this to my own classroom. Once I have successfully taught different anchor activities, I could create a chart with different days and different groups so that when it is time for me as a teacher to work with small groups, the students will know which group is with the teacher at the kidney table and which students will be doing the listed anchor activity. I think certain days it would also be great to give students choice on the anchor activity they wish to do. The groups would likely be similar ability groups, but would of course vary for different subjects. Having this small group time to work with specific students gives them opportunity to improve and work at their level, and yet gives me as a teacher time to assess each student individually.
Scaffolding is a strategy that many teachers use to teach students new content or tasks. Scaffolding refers to the supports needed for the student when learning new skills. Teachers use these strategies to push students beyond what they already know. Scaffolding starts with what the student knows and builds on it with the necessary supports. Once the student develops a good understanding of the content or task, the teacher may remove some of the support, challenging the student further. The goal of scaffolding is to eventually have students able to complete these tasks without the provided support. Scaffolding works together with what Vygotsky calls "the zone of proximal development". This is the area in which the student is learning with the necessary support. As mentioned above, the goal is to release more responsibility on the student, where he/she is able to do these tasks independently. Scaffolding is an excellent teaching strategy I would like to take with me into my future classroom. Using scaffolding can help students stretch their knowledge in progressive steps. Having supports when learning new content helps students learn without the added pressure. Supports include adult supports, peer supports, a supportive instructional environment, technology tools, etc. A simple example I could use in my classroom could be using manipulatives in math to help understand a new concept, eventually having the student understand the concept without the manipulatives.
Cooperative learning is becoming much more prevalent in today's classrooms. Teachers are encouraging students to work together on tasks in partners and small groups. Cooperative learning encourages students to contribute to their group towards success together. Working in partners and small groups gives students more opportunity to voice their thoughts or answers, than in whole-group instruction. Being in smaller groups may often take the pressure off of some children who do not like to be "in the spotlight". These students are not working alone, but have the necessary peer support. Working in smaller groups can also encourage students to take more responsibility for their learning. Cooperative learning is not only used to encourage academic learning but also to promote social and emotional well-being. It is a great opportunity for students to get to know and respect each other, along with preparing them to be cooperative in society once they leave school. I love the idea of cooperative learning environments in the classroom, as I myself learn so much more in working together with my peers. I definitely want to use this approach in my classroom, as I can see so many positive benefits. Encouraging students to work together in different groups promotes learning and inclusion, and promotes our students to become cooperative active members of society. A specific example I could use in my classroom could be "inside-outside circle". I would have students in two circles, one in the inside facing out and one on the outside facing in. To get them in these circles I would have them choose a partner, one on the inside and one on the outside. I would have students rotate in opposite directions to music and stop when the music stops, having students from both circles facing each other. I would ask students questions (could use it as a study method) and students would respond to the questions to each other. This could also be used as an icebreaker activity in class for students to get to know each other.
Role-playing is an excellent teaching strategy that needs to be continually used in classrooms today, specifically elementary. Role-playing gives students the opportunity to express themselves and how they feel, as well as helps them to understand how others may feel. It gives students the skills they need to communicate more effectively with others. Many students are unsure of how to express their feelings, but when put in a different character, often find it much easier. Role-playing offers students a safe environment where they can learn to express themselves. It offers opportunity for children to learn what specific feelings look like, and also increase their awareness of other's feelings. After role-playing in the classroom, it is important to have students share how they felt as a certain character in a specific situation. This encourages students to voice their feelings. I would definitely utilize this strategy in my classroom. I believe it develops social and emotional well-being and gives students life skills they can apply. Knowing that many students come from an unsafe environment, I want to be sure to provide a safe environment where they are able to express themselves. An example I could use for role-playing in my classroom could be to have students in partners, and give each group a cue card (random) of a scenario that will result in one character being happy, upset, left-out, etc. Have students choose a space in the classroom and take turns acting out the different characters in the scenario. Once students are finished, I would bring the class back to a whole-group discussion and ask students in each group to tell the class what their scenario was and how it made them feel. This gives students an opportunity to share feelings as well as to understand how someone else might feel in a certain situation.
Teachers are including non-linguistic representation more and more in their instruction. Research has shown that people learn and store knowledge in two ways: linguistically and non-linguistically. Classrooms used to be so focused on linguistic learning that many students were left behind and unable to grasp the knowledge. Using both linguistic and non-linguistic instruction increases students ability to recall what they have learned. As educators have become more aware and open to student's different learning styles, they have found different ways to teach students through visual representations, patterns, brainstorming, concept maps, dramas, etc. I think it is important that I remember to include this strategy in my classroom. I know that personally I can better recall information if a visual representation was used. Applying this to my classroom will ensure that the content and knowledge reaches the majority of my students. An example of this that I could use would be using the idea in the picture above to help explain time. Using a circle chart like the picture example, would be a great way for me to teach the difference between seconds, minutes, and hours. Even just having the children coloring each of these circles different colors helps them to visualize the difference and know that seconds is smaller than minutes and minutes is smaller than hours. I think it is an excellent strategy to use and will really help students to be able to mentally picture the difference.
Hutchinson, N. & Tomlinson, C.A. (2012). Inclusive Education. Boston, MA: 2012 Pearson Learning Solutions.