California Educator

August/September 2023

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them and surface what they do and do not know. Explain that the exercise is designed to be confusing and frustrating and that struggling is normal — even expected. Allow stu- dents to wrestle with a problem for a few minutes, then step in and build off their ideas and solutions, and then teaching how to correctly solve the problem. Vocabulary splashes: Present key vocabulary terms and concepts, along with brief definitions, and ask students to sort the words in ways that make sense to them. With a partner or in small groups have them discuss their sorting rationales. " The teacher then leads a discussion of how the terms and concepts are related to each other," Chandler writes, and connects them, if possible, to students' interests and prior knowledge. Consider closing out the lesson by having students sort and explain the words once more. Rapid review: Students partner with a classmate, discuss what they learned during the previous class, and then pres- ent to the group. It's a quick, effective way to "get students active, and helps the teacher know what 'stuck' from the previous day 's lesson," Chandler writes. Or, make it chatty Warm-ups don't need to be overly complicated and a few minutes of chatting about things unrelated to content can be enough to get class started. In Wamsted's math classroom, he's found that "just about any investment in actual con- versation — whether it's about doughnuts or spiders or the ramifications of this being the one-year anniversary of the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan — will pay off mightily in the long run." At the start of class, students see a playful message on the board that's designed to start conversations: "Wednesday? Wow! Halfway through!" or " Test next week? Probably!" for example. Wamsted then shows the day 's agenda on the board and follows with a slide he calls his "cold open" — designed to generate more chatting: "It might be a picture of my dog. It might be a trivia question about the top five fastest land animals." Once the chatter dies down, Wamsted introduces an attendance question. "At its best, this question connects to the cold open. It lets me share something about myself and opens the door for my students to share a little bit with me," he says. If he showed a photo of a dog during the cold open, his attendance question might involve asking about his stu- dents' pets, for example. This story originally appeared in Edutopia. 29 A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 3 Rebecca Sparks, '14 Meadows Arts and Technology Elementary School Scan the code or learn more at (805) 493-3325 • Preliminary Administrative Services Credential • M.A. in Educational Leadership • M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership • Doctorate in Educational Leadership (K-12 or Higher Ed) DON'T JUST ADVANCE YOUR CAREER AS AN EDUCATOR. ADVANCE EDUCATION. Financial Aid and Scholarships Available

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