In this video, I reflect on spending more time on a single task, rather than jumping from task to task for fear of students’ yawning and dropping out (and the teacher needing more coffee!).
I mention meshing text with skill. As soon as I said it, my brain went, “Well, what does that mean?” What I mean is that I used to view either the text or the skill being practiced as a means to an end. It was either, “Here’s a video that we’re going to watch just to practice listening for rhetorical questions” with very little focus on meaning, or “We’re going to practice scanning this text just so that we can then jump into the text’s meaning.” I have planned recycling of both texts and skills into my course plan this summer, and instead of having tons of supplemental texts to go with each skill, I’m encouraging closer readings of text to practice the various skills. For instance, today my beginning-level reading class annotated a text that they had already read multiple times.
Another element that I forgot to mention is my partial flipping of the classroom. This semester, my students have been assigned many videos to watch outside of class. These videos mostly teach or review skills that we will practice in class the next day. Delivering this instruction outside of class time has freed up valuable time for group work in class and has created an atmosphere where students already know something about the skill of the day. Thus, when I have asked them what they know about, say, topic sentences, they have generally been ready to talk, ask questions, and start applying the skill.
Slowing down seems to have been a recurring topic on Twitter this week, and here’s a great post from gemmalunn about slowing down in the classroom.
What are your favorite strategies for making the most of your time in the classroom? How much time do you typically spend working with one text or skill? How much recycling of content do you do in your classroom? I’d love to hear your take in the comments.