Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions

Came across this article in the Harvard Education Letter The title caught my attention, as an educator who oftened struggled to design thought provoking questions for my students. The article,Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions by Dan Rothstein & Luz Santana offers a different if not new perspective on learning, by having students design their questions using a Question Formulation Technique (QFT.) This technique helps students learn how to produce their own questions.
Teachers use QFT to introduce students to a unit, assess knowledge and to conclude a unit. The article includes all the steps you would need to understand and implement the process.
Love sharing!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Snappy Words

No I am not talking about a list of words to use for quick comebacks, although Snappy Words might help improve your word choice.
We all like free web tools that our students can use Free Technology for  provides teachers with free websites and resources that they can use in their classrooms.
Snappy Words is a free online visual dictionary and thesaurus. Enter any word or phrase into the Snappy Words search box and it will create a web of related words, phrases, and definitions. Hover your cursor over any word or phrase in the web to read its definition.
Check it out!
Linda Jones
The Eighth Floor

Monday, September 12, 2011

YES WE ARE OPEN - From Construction to Destruction to Instruction

We had a record breaking summer. We offered the most classes we ever have. We had the most teachers we’ve ever had. We had the most enrollments we’ve ever had.  And we had the most fun we’ve ever had.  I would say the only dark cloud was all the construction in this area. Although presently inconvenient, it is much needed progress. Perhaps the most common remark people made as the rushed into class feeling late was that they could see the build for the last 20 minutes – they just couldn’t get here.  The good news is it is getting better and better all the time. Participants who come for classes this fall will find it a little easier to get here, but should still expect some construction.  Your patience and humor were much appreciated this summer. Finding the secret way in from week to week really was a challenge.

In early August a storm tore the roof of our building. Being the top floor, we bore the brunt of the damage – losing 3 classrooms and all the equipment in them.  Even though our offices we not seriously damaged, they moved us off The Eighth Floor until repairs can be made.  We are now ALL sharing a large, open room on the Fourth Floor. It has been a month and we are still alive and speaking to each other!  So far.
We have been told we should be back in our offices and up and running by the middle of October. (Hmmm . . . . sounds like the “two weeks” answer. All renovation takes two weeks, right? )   In absolute faith, we scheduled classes to be held ON the Eighth Floor starting in November.  Still, we couldn’t wait until then to have classes.  TTC and TCC both we able to find us some space here and there.  So we are able to do some classes in October. 

Even though we were able to find some classroom space, we didn’t think we would be busy enough, and we didn’t want to lose the momentum from summer. So, we came up with our “October Scratch n’ Dent Sale.”  The idea is that for the month of October, we would do District Requests for free.

OMG!!  We had no idea how popular this would be. Between the classes we had scheduled and all the District Requests, we can’t put our finger on a blank spot anywhere on the calendar for the month of October.  No Vacancy. 

This is great news!  I see a number of bonuses: we don’t have to worry about these classes canceling, we get to spend some time in new and different learning environments, we can meet consortium members who might never get to take a class on The Eighth Floor, and we can engage in more specialized and informal instruction.  It has been so popular that we are trying to come up with a way to do something like this on a more regular basis.

Hopefully we will see you at your location or ours at some point this fall.

Just sharin’
Lee Anne