Showing posts from August, 2019

Using Individual Paths to Increase Achievement

Hey Coach, 
I read a recent post on the iTeach blog about fostering risk-taking in the classroom, and it got me thinking about some of my unit projects. My students pride themselves on getting good grades, but this causes them to play it safe by letting the rubric completely dictate what they create. I worry that giving them a rubric limits what they could accomplish if they weren’t so concerned about exactly what they have to do to earn an A. I want my students to attempt new and challenging tasks as they dig deep and explore the subject of the project, but if I don’t provide a detailed rubric, my students and their parents panic! What can I do?
Rubric Regrets
Dear Rubric Regrets,
Grading challenges are not an easy issue to deal with. Panic often sets in when students (and their parents) feel like there is not an explicit set of directions to get to that "A."  The great news is that these challenges offer an excellent opportunity to drive our teaching practice forw…

Fostering Risk-Taking and Perseverance

Hey Coach,
I have noticed a trend in my classroom - my students shy away from challenging tasks that require them to step out of their comfort zone! I want to create an environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and are willing to persevere through difficulties. What can I do to foster these skills in my students right from the start of the school year?
Ready for Risk-Taking

Dear Ready for Risk-Taking,
Way to go! I like that you are thinking about how you can support your students as they build these important executive functioning skills! As you know, covering content and standards is just part of the equation. Building executive functioning skills like perseverance and risk-taking are a critical piece of academic success. Research shows that grit, or the ability to persevere when faced with obstacles, is one of the key principles that influence student learning and predict student success (Duckworth & Peterson, 2007).
Design challenges offer students excell…

Getting To Know You Activities

Hey Coach,

I used to have my students take a “learning styles” test on the first day of school to discover their best modality of learning, but recently learned that “learning styles” research has been debunked and those tests you see online aren’t really helping students find out how best to learn. I want to do something fun and engaging to learn about my students for the first day of school. Do you have any suggestions?

Sincerely, Learning Styles Debunked

Dear Debunked,

You are right! The research into learning styles has largely been disproven; the idea that one learns best in one modality is a fallacy. To read more about it, check out the article “Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence.”  Getting-to-know-you activities are a great way to kick off the school year and to connect with your students. There are a million ways to get to know your students and for them to get to know each other. Check out these innovative ideas:

1.       An Infographic All About Me – You can have students cr…