Teaching with Intention: Chapter 5 Swimming with Sharks

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Hey there, y'all! Welcome back for this week's chapter of Teaching with Intention. This book study is hosted by Kindergarten Smorgasbord and this week's leaders are From Kindergarten with Love  and the Kindergarten Smograsboard. Today, we're focusing on Teaching for understanding and engagement. 

If you haven't read this book yet, you should. There are so many quotes in here that just speak to me. I won't bore you with a list of quotes, but there is definitely some food for thought there.

When planning lessons, there are a few questions to ask as you are getting started:
  • How does this lesson fit with what [the] children and I are already doing? How will it take the learning further?
  • Will it engage students? How are teachers and students positioned for teaching and learning? is thinking valued and made visible? Is there student input? Is independence on the radar?
  • What happens after the lesson? Will students be given time for practice and feedback from me? How else will they be supported? How will I know they understand?
  • What might some of the implications be for learning in the days and weeks to come? 
Student engagement is key to any lesson. If they're not mentally there with you, they're not going to get anything out of it. I know it seems at times (ahem, Christmas) that we're all but standing on our heads trying to keep the engagement strong, but it's a necessity. 

Soooo, Miller describes a lesson in which she SHOWS the class her comprehension strategies by using a giant file folder made out of poster board, representing her "mental files." We already have some things in our files (schema) and we can add new information to our files as we read. 

As they began a unit on sharks, they wrote things they already knew about them on sticky notes and put it in the folder. While they read, they added new information they learned to the file using different colored sticky notes. If a connection was made between schema and new info, the sticky notes were stuck together. If misinformation was discovered, that sticky note was "deleted." I have used anchor charts of all kinds before, but this is a great way to visualize comprehension strategies and can be used with probably any subject. 

I don't think it really matters what kind of visual you use as long as it works for you and your students. As long as you are intentional, thorough, and focused, your visual can serve the same purpose as hers.

What are your thoughts? Are you a pro at explaining your thinking or thinking out loud, or is it a work in progress? Share below and stop by in two weeks (we're taking a week off for the conferences in Las Vegas) for chapter 6.

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