Tag Archives: Time

#SOLSC17: Blended Learning


You can read more #DigiLitSunday posts at Margaret Simon’s blog, Reflections on the Teche.

 

What is blended learning?

One definition is that:

“Blended learning is an education program that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.” Source

I appreciate Beth Holland’s view in the quote that began this piece. . . “not only the opportunity to gain . . . but also an element of authority over this process.” The students are an integral portion of this work.  Blended learning, implemented well, has the potential to provide some of the best differentiated instruction.  Blended learning done poorly has the potential to provide mind-numbing, electronic worksheet type practice in a “one size fits all environment”.  The key is some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.”

Here’s an example:

“Tracy is a language arts teacher who has posted all of her lesson plans, assignments, and quizzes online so that students can access them at home, as well as at school. Tracy’s school recently implemented a one-to-one program in which each student has access to a personal computing device. To leverage the technology, Tracy has all of her students follow along on their devices during a guided reading exercise, during which the teacher and students examine a piece of text together. After a class discussion on the text, Tracy has the students switch over to Google Docs where they each write their own agreement or disagreement with the central argument of the text. During this time, Tracy roams the classroom making sure students are on task and answering any questions that arise.

Is Tracy using blended learning in her classroom? No. Let’s understand why:

  • By posting all class material online, Tracy is using the Internet to merely host information, not to manage the delivery of content or instruction.
  • The fact that Tracy’s school is a one-to-one program is irrelevant to whether blended learning is taking place. One-to-one is not synonymous with blended learning, as it doesn’t imply a shift in instructional delivery or an element of student control. Although equipping all students with devices can be a crucial component of creating a blended-learning program, if not implemented correctly, the devices themselves can easily be used to support traditional instruction (as in Tracy’s case).
  • Tracy’s students are all using the personal computing devices s to read and write, but they are moving through the content as a single batch doing the same thing at the same time with no element of control over the time, place, path, or pace of learning.
  • Tracy’s use of Google Docs for the student writing exercise is no different than if her students were writing with pencil and paper.

Tracy is participating in a “technology-rich” classroom, not a blended one. Technology-rich instruction shares the features of traditional teacher-led instruction with technological enhancements. This includes electronic whiteboards, digital textbooks, online lesson plans, Google Docs, virtual reality, and so forth. These tools may enhance learning experiences, but do not fundamentally shift instruction in a way that gives students some element of control.” Source

Are you providing blended learning environments?

Are you providing technology-rich environments?  

How could students have more control over time, place, path or pace?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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early morning slicer

#SOLSC17: Friday Morning


15 minutes

Every Friday morning I wish I had just 15 more minutes.

15 more minutes to read or write.

15 more minutes to get organized for the day.

15 more minutes to chat with Mya.

15 more minutes to review lessons for my day.

15 more minutes to talk to the kids in the classroom.

15 more minutes to get organized before the weekend.

Oh…. just 15 more minutes.

What would you do with 15 minutes?

What would you do with that hour by the end of the month?

Or is this your wish for every day?


Reader notes:  Today’s blog post is based on Romeo Lit Coach’s post, “15 More Minutes March 6 #SOL17” here.

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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early morning slicer

#SOL16: Counting Down


school

Single digits now remain

Where once 180 were yet unwrapped.

Days filled with reading, writing, speaking and listening

Math, science, social studies and all those specials.

Time

Days rushed by

90 minutes plus of reading

Was it enough?

What remains?

Time

Time to continue learning

Time to celebrate learning

Time

Time to read and write

Advice for the next class

Wishes for the next year

Time

Final blog entries

Final skype sessions

Time

Saying “hello” as we acknowledge where we began

Saying “goodbye” as we note our accomplishments

Yes, Time

Time for more reading and more writing

Making our summer plans

Because reading and writing don’t end

Although the 180 days will soon close the classroom door.

We are readers and writers EVERY day!

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  Thank you for this weekly forum!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 17


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Tick, Tock!

Life

60 seconds in a minute

60 minutes in an hour

24 hours in a day

3600 minutes in a day

How do you choose to spend them?

Tick, Tock!

school

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School

60 seconds in a minute

60 minutes in an hour

7 hours in a school day

420 minutes in a school day

How do you choose to spend them?

Tick, Tock!

How do you make decisions about how you spend your time?

Is it the “to do” list?  Is it checking things off?

Is it the “living” list?  Something for yourself and something of service to others?

Quotes about Time 

Which one fits you?

“Charles Richards
Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.
H. Jackson Brown
Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.

Benjamin Franklin
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

Thomas Edison
Everything comes to him that hustles while he waits.

Robert Browning
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made; Our times are in his hand who saith, “A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: See all, nor be afraid!

Louis E. Boone
I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.

Jeffery J. Mayer
If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?

Lee Iacocca
If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.”

Does it matter?

Last night, I chose to work on my “to do” list.  A sure sign that my four day weekend was over.  I also chose to set the timer and read and respond to slicers . . . and I met some totally new folks that slice in a different time frame. For me, that was the perfect balance of “wants” and “needs”.

Did I get everything on my list done?  Of course not!  But my list is for today and I have a great start on it . . . which is usually impossible on a full day of professional development.  Choosing to work in advance was my choice, no complaints, just an opportunity to alleviate today’s pressures!

What choices do you make?

slice of life

Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

Planning to Meet CCSS Grade Level Literacy Standards


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Do any of those questions sound familiar?

I spent this week with some fabulous teachers working on the Iowa Core Writing Standards.  Did we work on all of them?  No!  Did we talk about all of them?  Not by number!  But we did spend a lot of time talking about what good writing should look like, how writing will be assessed in the future, and the whole reciprocal nature of reading and writing.

So what’s my best advice for planning those “first writing lessons for the new year?”

Here is my thinking based on what I learned at Teachers College Reading and Writing Institutes this summer:

  1. At least 50 % of reading workshop time (or more) has to be spent on students reading books of their choice every day (CCR Anchor Reading 1 and 10).
  2. At least 50 % of writing workshop time (or more) has to be spent on students writing every day. (That writing has to be aligned to one of the first three CCR Anchor Writing Standards, Argument, Explanatory, or Narrative and 10).

(To summarize 1 and 2 above, every day the student will be working on a minimum of 2 reading and 2 writing anchor standards.)

If I have planned my instructional sequences well, I will have also managed to “bundle in” some Speaking and Listening and Language Anchor Standards or some Foundational grades K-5 standards to support the gradual release of responsibility.

How will I decide which ones go together?  One of my new tools is this graphic, A Periodic Table of the Common Core Standards,  from Burkins and Yaris.  During planning, this table will remind me of the wide range of standards available and I will choose the standards that best meet the needs of my students as I also consider what I have learned about “letting the students guide my instruction” from Vicki Vinton and our #wrrdchat as we studied the book, What Readers Really Do.

How will I know if I have been successful?

  • I will check the amount of time students spend reading and writing every day and shorten the “teacher talk” time to ensure that students are getting as much time possible for reading and writing.
  • I will listen to students in reading and writing conferences to hear what they are saying about reading and writing.
  • I will talk to students about my own reading and writing histories.
  • I will model reading and writing with and for my students.
  • And I will ask my Twitter mates for help, encouragement and assistance when things run amuck as they are prone to do!

(Dr. Shanahan has already said that “there are no power standards in ELA” here so that is a non-issue.)  And yes, you do have to teach all the standards!

How will you know that you are meeting the CCSS Grade Level Literacy Standards?  What is your plan for this school year?

Maximize Your Time!


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Several items in yesterday’s ASCD SmartBrief (June 4, 2013) caught my eye.  But the one that captured both my mind and my heart was the pdf available titled “Multiply Your Minutes” in  a preview from Great Habits, Great Readers:  A Practical Guide for K-4 Reading in the Light of Common Core by Paul Bambrick.  My first read was while waiting for an appointment to meet with a curriculum coordinator.  (With my iPad in hand, I even shared some sections immediately.) My second read was to consider which co-workers would get an email link.  My third read was after a co-worker commented on “I like the part about. . .”; I had to reread to find that “evidence.”  I wanted to make sure that we both had a common understanding and that my enthusiasm had not been misplaced.  Then I sent the link to another circle of co-workers.  My morning drive to work was spent rehearsing a title for this blog entry that I just had to write. And then before I began writing, gasp! I read the pdf AGAIN!

Time is one of our most precious commodities in school.  As a teacher and administrator, I was often cavalier when I would use the excuse, “I just don’t have time,”  so I did not have to change what I was doing.  It was a well-worn excuse!  But in my role as a literacy specialist, I see time as a critical factor that  with “better management” has the potential  to lead to increased student learning.  I find it incredibly hard to listen to conversations about how longer school days will improve learning when the day that we have just does not seem to always be used wisely.  Is this important?  Doug Fisher spends time on “Routines for the First 20 Days” and Daily 5 is all about the “routines” that need to be taught in order to allow students to become both independent and productive.

So what was so illuminating?  The 3 pdf sections available for preview are perfect for end of year reflections as well as August resolutions to “Maximize Time!” and increase student learning! (and to “tide you over” until your book arrives!) Check out these three GEMS!

1. “Core Idea: You can’t add more hours to the week, but you can add more hours of instruction; just build tighter routines.”

2. “Core Idea: Time lost to systems is time lost for learning.”

3. And the amount of instructional time gained if transition time was reduced from 4.5 minutes to just 30 seconds because of explicit instruction and practice.

use of time

Ten school days!  Wow! Have you timed your transitions lately? Maybe you are at 2.5 minutes. You could still gain five days in a year!

What routines do you teach your students in order to maximize your time?  What routines SHOULD you teach?

What are you thinking of changing for next year?

Please add your ideas below!

Guarantee Quality Reading: Every Day, Every Child


In the last week, I have asked

Successful reading  does not happen in a vacuum.  How do you know that each precious moment is spent on the “right things”?  How do you know that you have high-quality reading instruction?  How can you make reading time more effective for “Every Child, Every Day” within your daily schedule?

Today my media specialist colleague, Kristin Steingreaber, reminded me of a March, 2012 ASCD article where Richard Allington and Rachel Gabriel advocated for six elements of reading instruction in this Educational Leadership article  titled, “Every Child, Every Day.”  This was the issue that was labeled as “Reading: The Core Skill.”

They said, . . . “educators often make decisions about instruction that compromise or supplant the kind of experiences all children need to become engaged, successful readers. This is especially true for struggling readers, who are much less likely than their peers to participate in the kinds of high-quality instructional activities that would ensure that they learn to read.”*

What do educators need to do today and every day (11 months later)?

Here are the four items that focus very specifically on reading:

1. “Every child reads something he or she chooses.

2. Every child reads something he or she understands.

3. Every child talks with peers about reading and writing.

4. Every child listens to a fluent adult read aloud.” *

Self-Reflect:

Are all four of those elements a part of your reading workshop every day, for every child?

If not, why not?

Remember that all four are research-based strategies that have been proven beneficial for all students!

What are you waiting for?

 Allington, Richard L. and Gabriel, Rachael E.   “Every Child, Every Day.”  March 2012 | Volume 69 | Number 6.  Reading: The Core Skill Pages 10-15

Finding Minutes for Reading


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This is the 4th post in a series that began after hearing Lucy Calkins in Chicago on January 25th.  The ideas expressed in this post are not from Lucy’s presentation but instead come from work with teachers in my area.

Recapping the Series:

  • Common Core:  A Promise?  A Failure?
  • Volume of Reading?  How much is “enough”?
  • Are my students reading enough?  This post introduced a course of action to consider the current status of reading in your classroom that included:
  1.  Honestly assess current reality of “Volume of Reading” (looking at three readers)
  2.  Review schedule / organizational framework for minutes that can be re-purposed for “Volume of Reading”
  3. Set a goal
  4.  Implement the plan with additional re-purposed time
  5. Set measurement times to collect formative data to determine whether “on course” to achieve the target

And today’s call to action:  2. Review schedule/organizational/instructional framework for minutes that can be re-purposed for “Volume of Reading.”

In this post, I am asking you as the teacher to reflect on both your efficiency and effectiveness as a teacher.  What is working?  What is not?  How do you know?  should be constant questions circling through your brain as you search through your day for minutes that you can re-purpose for increased student reading.  Do note that not all of these will necessarily apply to you and your classroom.  If you are not interested in change, please go read something else.  This post is specifically designed to make you consider time utilization across the many facets of your day!

Mathematically, why does this matter?  I am going to include a second grade comparison for each item listed below.  I will be assuming an average second grader reading approximately 100 words per minute.  So if “5 minutes are found” that will allow the student to read approximately 500 more words.  There is a possibility that if “20 minutes are found” across the day, the student could read 2000 more words and be more likely to be on target to meet the promise of the Common Core English Language Arts Anchor Standards!

A. Talk less; Watch and listen more. Students read and write more!

You have a relationship with your students so conversations with students are critical.  Greet them at the door for personal messages that the entire class does not need to hear. Establish routines for efficient collection of information  such as lunch choices, changes in after school transportation or receipt of communications from home.  Shifting the focus for “Sharing” after 1st semester in first grade to focus on something that the student has read or written will enable all readers and writers to know that “literacy is the focus” in your classroom!  Who is doing the work in the classroom?  Is the teacher the “main talker”?  If you believe the person talking is doing the learning . . . what are the implications for your classroom? (5 minutes found at beginning of day and 5 minutes after lunch = 10 minutes or 1000 additional words read)

B. Shorten mini-lessons or focus lessons! 

Consider how many times across the day that you provide explicit instruction including modeling.  How long are each of those focus or mini-lessons?  If they are more than 10 minutes for first and second grade, shorten them.  If they are more than 15 minutes for all other grades, shorten them. Multiple shorter focus lessons are typically more effective if students are then immediately applying those actions in their own reading and writing.  Using a gradual release of responsibility model allows for more student reading and writing during a “guided instruction/productive group work” phase.  Consider using visual prompts that keep you on track with only the critical components as you strive for students to become independent readers and writers.   And remember that the mini-lesson or focus lesson does not always have to be “first” in the instruction.  Not sure about the effectiveness of your mini-lesson or focus lesson?  Video record your mini-lessons for one day and review later with a critical friend to discuss the content and length. (shortening 2 mini-lessons each day = 5 minutes found or 500 additional words read)

C.  Consider whole class instructional activities.

How long does whole class instruction last? How often during a day do you use whole class instruction?  By the end of the instruction, are 80% or more of the students successful which would indicate that your core instruction, in this case whole class instruction, is effective?  If not, consider including more partner work where students are reading or writing to/ or with a partner.  With this structure the teacher can check the understanding of even more students, saving precious moments for all. Students will also be able to spend more time reading and writing if they are not waiting for response time in a large group setting. (Students are reading more during instruction so 5 minutes found = 500 additional words read; each time whole class instruction is used!)

D. Reduce the number of worksheets.  Doug Fisher (Gradual Release of Responsibility) calls them “shut-up sheets.” Many worksheets are typically an “assessment” that is completed individually that addresses the question, “Do I know the answer the teacher/publisher wants?” (Honestly, name the last 5 worksheets that you filled out in real life!) If students are reading and writing A LOT, they should have text that invites deep discussion and even argumentation with the author or characters.  Students should have learned some content from the text which would be the ultimate goal from the Common Core English Language Arts Anchor Standards. (Continue for other accountability measures) ( 1 worksheet = 10 found minutes = 1000 additional words read x the number of worksheets across the day)

E. Stop round robin and popcorn reading immediately.  Most students do not follow along.  We know that because students tell us that it is wasted time while they count out their parts.  (Besides, it was not effective for us when we were in school either.)  Do not slow down the whole class to go at the pace of the slowest.  Round robin/popcorn reading is not an example of hearing good models of reading either.  For many students it is a very frustrating, cold read.  Instead, add in more partner work.  Read to someone / partner reading is a better structure that will maximize learning for both students working together, especially when the listener has to summarize the events before he or she begins reading!  Small individual accountability routines could include “pair-share” or “numbered heads together.” (20 minutes found / 2 readers = 10 minutes each student= 1000 additional words read)

F. General classroom management – Consider when all students are waiting in the hall in a line to go to the restroom, get a drink, etc. If you have 25 students and this takes 5 minutes, that is a total of  125 minutes of student time gone.  What would be a better structure?  Don’t forget to ask your students for input!  Involving them in decisions fosters independence.  Other considerations might include responding to some of these questions:  Do students have to wait to ask the teacher for specific tasks like sharpening a pencil or going to the library to get a resource. (Accountability – physical “passes” that are taken with them as the student completes the out of classroom task)  How can these tasks be handled efficiently and maximize both teacher and student time and energy? Consider the “flow” of classroom tasks and activities.  Is there a workshop model in place that allows students to move seamlessly from task to task? (10 minutes found across day = 1000 additional words read)

Pick one and get started.   Removing inefficient time barriers to reading is a critical task that teachers can undertake immediately that will result in increased time for reading for ALL students!

Where will you start?

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