Susan Jones, my recent favorite K-2 teacher. There are a lot of jewels on her YouTube.
I especially love the two clips about how to instigate positive conversation in the classroom. It resonates with my favorite idea: a classroom as a learner-centered community. These videos essentially give teacher a framework as to how we can start a positive and meaningful conversation with a big group of students. There are strategies she loves to use in her class. I listed only some of them I tried and worked for my students.
1. Set the norm: in K-2 usually the students come into the classroom with little knowledge or experiences participating in conversations that includes more than 20 participants. Sometimes, the older students may need reassurance or confirmation to speak properly in a big group. They need guidance and rules to know what is expected and how to support each other reaching that expectation. So a few clear standards is very helpful to start such a conversation. To introduce these norms/standards anchor charts a a great tool.
2. Question of the Day: Having an open question helps brainstorm ideas and form those ideas into words. It gives students a purpose and some content to talk about. In addition to questions from the text or the students daily lives, she also recommend card games teachers can use with the class or in pair work. Sanford Harmony also offers a set of questions in their FREE quick connection cards for early childhood and upper grades. Teachers can pick a question, let students pick their own question or distribute them for pair work. They offer pdf download version and also a mobile version in their App.
3. Sentence stems: clear sentence stems gives the students what is expected and some crutches to hand on when they start to develop their sentences. Depending on the content of focus, we may give the students sentence starters that help to express their agreement/disagreemen
4. Color coded notes : content related to sort their ideas or help develop their ideas. Categories may include connections, questions they have, favorite parts, and a wild card.
Elina is a great art teacher from Finland. Her demo teaching blew my mind.
We met through a Fulbright exchange program where she represented distinguished educators from Finland. Needless to say, it sparked a lot of curiosities in me and also teachers from other countries. I had the privilege to be placed in the same group with her, learning her teaching philosophy and saw her teach first hand.
Long story short, after long discussion and observing her lessons, I found that self-paced learning is deeply ingrained in her teaching beliefs, or perhaps in her beliefs in general. How human beings learn or acquire knowledge throughout one’s life is different and therefore our teaching shall reflect that nature. That, is manifested in this teacher’s every move in the classroom, her words and design of the lesson.
In her first 2nd grade sewing class (2nd grade? Sewing? That’s right!), she introduced the learning time line. Each student in the beginning of each lesson set the pace of learning for themselves. They decided when and what they would complete a certain step.
There was no competition but evaluation and discussion of their each decision between the teacher and students - no compliments; no punishment, just a sense of “of course everyone can do it!”
Of course everyone can succeed. It is just a matter of time. Why rush?
Beautifully said, quotes from Chloe and Simon, “seeing us as human beings and as brothers and sisters is to recognize that we are all capable of being good or bad; We cannot be fixed but we can always be better. “
I truly enjoyed this episode with these two great individuals. Their words and actions about love, community and finding common grounds amongst US are uplifting and empowering.
Theory of Enchantment - A bit of Optimism
Although Chloe spoke from the concerns of racism, her central tone is to encourage all to face the demon inside. Instead of othering people, recognizing those needs and wants that we dislike or loathe are not unique but social-emotional complexity existing within every single one of us. As inner psychology lays out: what we do not like is a projection of ourselves. Separation is an illusion. It is always We and Us.
To be WE is not an easy task. Communications and negotiations speaks to from and to our egos. It triggers anger, annoyance, disgust, superiority…and feelings that defines us at that particular moment. Oftentimes, it hurts.
Looking within takes courage because it asks us to confront our own ego. One who chooses to go through that path could experience unpleasant interactions with our own ego.
Indeed, as human beings I’m capable of doing all good and bad. I choose, I mourn, I learn and I choose again. such a lifetime hard work. It can be fun if we simply let it.
I have always wondered how a class that requires intensive interactions and readings of non-verbal cues can work online with little kids. Can it really work? To what extent?
I believe in real human interaction in the K-2 classrooms, where our children learn to respect and cherish one another through their deeds. To me, it’s like a little society they get to experience and experiment the consequences of their own actions. Through discussion, if the teacher is willing, they will bond and acquire a sense of life that they wish when they grow up.
Since the breakout of pandemic, our children and teachers can only interact online through a small window and are refrained from physical engagement. Amongst the teachers, we sometimes jokingly said that our kids absorb everything happening in the class through their skin, not eyes not ears, just like fish in the water. Now that the kids are in a different context, How learning takes place is indeed an interesting phenomenon. Is it still the same kind of learning?
I’m sure there are children truly excited about using “computers” or “tablets,” but I am not sure how the quality of online interactions serves the purpose of learning social skills such as eye-contact, showing physical support with non-verbals or active listening.
Online class/communication, to me, perhaps requires a different set of social rules or etiquette.
「孩子的人生，不該是我們恐懼的延續。」宗憲教授的這段話，深深的打動我的心。我們對偉大與成功的定義，是否源於我們對 「無法獲得金錢、功名 」的恐懼，或是一個人能否徹底發揮實踐自己的潛能；我們對他人或孩子們給出的意見，是否是我們個人人生「不能」或「無法」的投射？是否源於我們不相信孩子有實現自己人生的潛能？我們的人生似乎總活在各式各樣的期待中，而長輩希望我們求取金錢、功名這樣的期待，似乎從有意識以來就一直流淌在我們的想法裡。一個不清明，就可能誤以為這是我們人生經驗得出來最好的生命實現方式。
2. 在回應「何謂正確的思辨」中，宗憲教授援引毛姆的 『月亮與六便士』與我們探討我們人生何來正確的答案？何謂正確? 如何做選擇？故事中的主人翁放下家庭與日常生活（六便士的生活開支）去追尋理想（月亮）錯了嗎？不負責任了嗎？倘若留在家庭中而壓抑自己的想望的確是對家人負責，但這樣的選擇又對自己的人生負責了嗎？這樣的選擇，會令人快樂嗎？
一般來說，在婚姻市場，男生成就越高的，身價越好，年齡沒有太大的關係。女性成就越高的，身價越不好，年齡有很大的關係。尤其職場上，男生結婚幾乎不受影響，甚至有更大的幫助，￼￼女生可是完全不一樣。更不用講那些世界各國 Me Too的事件。
Teaching for the years passed by, I have come to realize that giving a demonstration is truly a good way to evaluate what and how I have worked with my students.
In this post, I wish to offer some of my experiences for teachers who are working on a teaching demonstration and for student teachers who wish to gain from observing a lesson. Again, it comes from my own experience and this is not intended for those wishing to see a seemingly energetic and happy 40-minute demo lesson.
As an observer in a language class, I seek to gain insight from the teacher’s orchestration, the learners’ active learning, and the interaction between the teacher and the learners. I wish to see how the teacher structure a particular lesson, where the delivery focus is the concept not the textbook content; where the activities are designed to convey skills and concepts. That is to say, my major concern is how the learners demonstrate their learning of the skills/content/concepts through carefully designed activities.
And no, in the language class we can’t prepare the students for that kind of demonstration within one single lesson - the demonstration period. That particular period should be an accumulation of everything you have taught because this is how language teaching should be, building off what the children already know and move on to something new. It sounds like common sense, but it is a real challenge for a language teacher. Because you are teaching a foreign language to young learners and the learners practically learn almost everything from you and your teaching.
So yes, your demonstration shall not be a fancy 40-minute show, but the real representation of your everyday teaching. And it is not about you. It is about your students - a demonstration of what they have learned and how they learned it: your classroom language (mutual understanding), your content build-up routines (their self-learning skills),
In the language class, it covers practically everything you can think of and everything that facilitates the use of the target language in the classroom, whether it is exchange between the teacher and the students or amongst the students themselves. Language such as commands/requests (pass the paper, please? How many? Turn off ..., please. Turn on ...., please...etc) or attention grabbers.
Aside from the dialogues patterns provided in the textbooks (they are, most of the time, artificial and hard to be recycled in the classroom setting), there are a lot of useful expressions that can be taught to the students. I recommend teachers to find teaching clips available on Youtube to develop a repertoire of their own classroom language and practice how to use it appropriately.
Routines (or Your Classroom Management)
They are, in my opinion, the most important part in the language class. We can alternate and devise new teaching strategies or activities, but keeping the learners in a loop for them to feel safe helps to give them confidence exploring the content boldly and freely. It is crucial especially at the elementary level (K-5). More importantly, the learners will need to time to understand what is expected and not expected. I love how the strategies teachers in the US use to discuss and evaluate the learners' understanding by asking them
- what it looks like?
- what it sounds like?
- how it feels like?
It gives the learners a holistic picture of an abstract concept with concrete forms.
For instance, if cooperative learning is something one wishes to demonstrate in demo period, the learners need to practice it for at least a couple months before they feel trust amongst their team members and not worrying too much about making mistakes. If pair work is something one wishes to demonstrate in the demo period, they need to learn what to say, how to take turns or even how to respond.
Tricks, games and activity ideas are easy find in the sea of web. If an activity is not working for you, it is probably because there is some foundation you forgot to build before you implement it. For that, I mean the routines and your classroom management.
I officially become a PE teacher this semester, a bilingual PE teacher, exciting and challenging. Luckily my colleague in the new office(J, his made up name ha) is a very experienced, passionate and dedicated teacher. I have learned a lot since September from his selfless sharing and allowing me to observe his teaching.
Every lesson I observed has been mind blowing. Every single second was a new a learning moment for me. I can’t honestly remember I was taught the skills that I observed in his lessons. Through discussions, J explained the changes he has observed in the 20 years of serving in the same school. Averagely, our 6th graders grow shorter each year; the sports they can play and acrobatic skills they can perform decreased significantly. A perverted schooling schedule and over emphasis on the academics contribute to the phenomenon, I believe.
Sadly knowing how much our students (especially in the school I serve) have missed out from sitting too much in the classrooms, I realized there is a mission on my shoulders to cultivate physically capable and strong youth....LOL
Much to learn about physical Ed and much to play with my first graders!! Fun!
Science, Technology and Engineering
第一個階段采旻師用最生活化的方式讓我們理解STEAM 中的這三個向度，到底是什麼！真的就像 Sandy 一直提到的她身為文科生的苦痛，對我來說，這三者的定義真的就是模糊在一起的一大塊，很難拆開說分明。但大師的解釋就是「一語突破盲腸」：
我自己感覺 engineering 可能更關切製作的過程，但 technology 則更關注在這成品如何在人與人交流中起作用！ （天，文科腦真的很難跟它們交朋友...
Messages in the STEAM picture books
采旻師此次的分享將繪本分成了幾個部分，每一個部分除了都STEAM 的精神貫穿之外，還包含了不同種類繪本想要傳遞訊息。每一本STEAM繪本的精神，當然就是鼓勵孩子們：ASK, IMAGINE, PLAN, CREATE, IMPROVE.
1. The most magnificent thing. 采旻師任為這本書不但讓大家看到孩子們遇到挫折的情緒，也是向經典作 The Wild Thing 致敬。The Wild Thing 可是第一本血淋淋地把孩子們惡魔的一面俵達出來的書。
2. How to wash a woolly mammal
3. Violet the pilot
1. The boy who harnessed the wind: 這本書的作者現在經常應邀到大學中發表演說，鼓勵美國青年敢做夢，動手做。是美國大學第一新生的必讀本喔。
2. The boy who invented TV: 是個挺悲涼的故事，因為真正的發明者因為版權被侵佔，窮困潦倒一世。直到最近才由夫人把手稿披露。
3. If I built a car
1. How to make an apple and see the wold
2. How to make a cherry pie and see the USA
1. Noisy Garage
2. Boy and Bot
3. Robot Everywhere: 講這書提到了無孔不入的AI - Kayla 玩具，根本又是一個鬼故事！
4. Changes, Changes
第五個部分是「How to …」以及經典本的現代版
1. /Underground/ 和 /City/ 這兩本書的精密程度真的是令人歎為觀止！想來要完成這樣的書真的要非常久！這兩本書也是得了大獎的書！
2. If you give a mouse a cookie —> If you give a mouse an iPhone 非常寫實有趣！
3. Good Night, Moon —> Good Night iPad 真的能對現代的家庭相處模式提出一個警惕，孩子們身為網路原住民或許將要住在一個跟我們不同的e世代，但是人與人之間的關係是從家庭開始，在這短短的0-5歲時間，一但錯過了，要彌補真的不容易啊！
最後，采旻師也提醒大家 to start reading a picture book, curiosity is very important. Prompt questions that invite readers to engage in the beginning, and during the process of reading is crucial. Drawing a flow chart that reflects the character’s thinking process or the readers’ own solution is also a great way to engage the learners. Thank you, Sandy.
We just finished our readers’ theater competition today. It is not a surprise to me that the groups who enjoyed the most were rewarded the best. There are some deciding factors that facilitate their performance in my opinion.
First, an appropriate script that the students can relate plays an important role. Amongst the better performing classes, most of them are able to understand the story being read to them, they are able to create their own imagination from the pictures shown to them, they are able to find interesting points in the story that make them laugh, mad or sad.
Second, albeit different aptitudes and personalities of the students, the better performing classes are more able to play with the rhythm and intonations of English. There was a lot of valuable discussion when we went through the scripts and tried different ways to express the scripts. To me, it felt like practicing choir, trying to come up with a better combination to make parts of the story vivid, fun and enchanting. As the class went through different combinations, I could feel that the students were able to experience the impact resulted from different combinations. They enjoyed the experiments and making their own decisions.
In the EFL environment, there are very few opportunities for learners to express themselves in English. We have struggled with elementary learners working on their textbook sentence structures and dialogues for years. To be honest, it feels fake because there is hardly real recipient to initiate a communication. And the readers’ theater makes it real because the learners are truly express their feelings towards a written piece to someone, the audience listening to the story. Whether it is a dialogue, monologue, or narrative, the learners have to exercise everything they have accumulated through years of learning.
Readers' Theater Story
** Please write in the comment section if you need the RT script.
It’s easy to get fatigued sometimes in our teaching when our brains went totally dry and can’t come up with any ideas to boost the learning energy in the classroom.
Here are some quick go activities I collected through colleagues or online resources. It is always great to come back for a revisit now and then.
*The first* article is from infromED in 2013. It offers 25 tricks to jumpstart routine lessons. They are divided into subjects: Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies, and offered when a specific skill or skill is targeted at. The ideas are very practical and easy to implement given that our ESL/EFL curriculum integrates many of those subjects. My favorites are
These ideas are all simple and practical. I always feel pumped again when I come back to revisit these ideas.
*The second* article is written by teachtought in 2018, specifically addresses the necessity to get students moving in the classroom and it offered 5 activities to be incorporated in any lessons. Simple and easy to prepare.
Although the authors stated that their activities are used with high school students I found them also useful in the elementary classrooms when I implemented then with more control of questions I asked and more practice on the routines/discussion on the goals with the children.
An enthusiastic ELT/CLIL teacher, passionate educator, researcher, teacher trainer, Apple Teacher. Seesaw ambassador and curriculum developer.