High-Leverage Teaching Practices! Are you doing them?

According to Teaching Works, High-Leverage Practices are critical to helping students learn content, central to supporting social-emotional development, used across Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 4.00.45 PMsubjects, content, and grade levels.

Here are the 19 practices.  Click here to go to the website and read more about each!  There are also video samples you can view here.  It’s FREE to join!!

  1.  Leading a group discussion
  2. Explaining and modeling content, practices, and strategies.
  3. Eliciting and interpreting individual students’ thinking.
  4. Diagnosing particular common patterns of student thinking and development in a subject-matter domain.
  5. Implementing norms and routines for classroom discourse and work.
  6. Coordinating and adjusting instruction during a lesson.
  7. Specifying and reinforcing productive student behavior.
  8. Implementing organizational routines.Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 4.03.51 PM
  9. Setting up and managing group work.
  10. Building respectful relationships with students.
  11. Talking about a student with parents or caregivers.
  12. Learning about students’ cultural, religious, family, intellectual and personal experiences and resources for use in instruction.
  13. Setting long- and short-term learning goals for students.
  14. Designing single lessons and sequences of lessons.
  15. Checking student understanding during and at the conclusion of lessons.
  16. Selecting and designing formal assessments of student learning.
  17. Interpreting the results of student work, including routine assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and standardized assessments.
  18. Providing oral and written feedback to students.
  19. Analyzing instruction for the purpose of improving it.

So how many did you check off??  Go to the website to check out info and videos for the ones you would like to know more about!!

Happy leveraging!!



Mindfulness for kids…here is resource for school OR home!!

Mindfulness has become extremely popular recently and  I believe that this is a practice that children need as much…if noZen stonest MORE…than adults!

Just think about it….as adults we have developed self-regulation skills that we use when we have extreme feelings like anger, sadness, fear, or worry.  For children, although some are more resilient than others, these skills are not necessarily hard wired.  They have to be taught and cultivated until children are able to do them independently and be able to identify when they need to use them.

Dan Harris, ABC news anchor, defined mindfulness as the ability to see what’s going on in your head combined with the ability not to get carried away with it.  Sounds like something we ALL can use!!

Mind Yeti is a great place to start practicing mindfulness in classrooms OR at home.  Watch this video to see how!


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Sounds like it’s worth a try?  Let me know how it goes!



Amazing Dollar Tree Hack from Make, Take & Teach!!

You just have to love that Dollar Tree! It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve been able to have the time to just wander the aisles of our local Dollar Tree. It used to be one of my favorite things to do when I needed to kill 30 minutes or so while waiting for soccer…

via My Favorite Dollar Tree Hack! — Make Take & Teach

Brain Research + Intervention = SUCCESS!!

I have to admit, I am obsessed right now with learning about brain research and how it can impact student learning in a positive way.  MM900234673Now,  teaching and learning have gone through MANY changes over time and the truth is that there is no perfect way to teach.  What we know about the realities of teaching today, we have to find is right for each student- and that varies of course tremendously.  What I do know is we definitely need to learn more about teaching according to the best way the brain receives and retains information.

After all, ALL students have a brain!!

Brain research done by Trachtenburg ( 1990) asserts using a whole-part-whole approach is the best way to connect the skills you need to teach to literature.  According to him, there should be NO isolation.  Unless students are connecting the skills to actual text, they will be less likely to make the transfer themselves.

So the whole-part-whole process can be used with any skill  for any small group or individual instruction/intervention and looks like this..

Start with a whole text.  Grounding your literacy experiences this way is the foundation of meaningful instruction.  The selected text could meet one of 2 goals.  (1.) It could be a book used previously for another skill that students are rereading for fluency and/or for running record information.  (2.) It could be the text you are using to teach the new skill, and you will have the skill or strategy rise from the book.

Focus on the reading skill you want to teach.  This should be a planned, explicit way of highlighting the specific reading skill the students need to learn.  For example, you may zero in on a phonics skill, text feature, or literary device students need to know.

Return to the text to apply the newly learned skill.  Now, students have the opportunity to immediately apply/practice/identify the newly learned skill in context.  This could be a new text, or a familiar one students have experience with.  The goal is to take everything you teach students about reading back to the text!  After all, that’s where they will need to use it, right?

This whole-part-whole method is ensures reading skills are taught in a meaningful, strategic way that takes into account the best way the brain receives and retains information.