Teaching Resources for CECC Staff


The Philosophies Behind the Teaching Techniques & Strategies

Hearts on, hands on, minds on. We know that students learn more when they feel valued and loved by their teacher. They are willing to work harder, take more academic risks and will demonstrate less disruptive behavior. Time spent connecting with the heart is never wasted and time spent giving students an active voice (hands on) in their learning is time well spent. 

As teachers we value and teach character. Personality is who students become by the time they are 5-6 years old. Character is who they become from their life experience thereafter. As a teacher you get to help shape a students character by helping them to feel good about themselves and to make good choices.  Try to avoid being disappointed in a child’s personality, and instead be inspired to help them build their character. 

Every student can learn if we just keep trying! Sometimes learning is slow and complicated, but if we use our tools and strategies intentionally, every student will be successful. When we fail, try something different. Students need to know that learning is mandatory and we believe in them, not matter how long it takes. 


Learning Maps

Overview: Learning maps (or guides) are what teachers put on the board to help students understand what they will be doing each day and what they will be learning. It is also a great tool for the teacher! Make it easy to remember your lesson by writing it on the board.

Learning maps should be on the board when students arrive and can include the following information:

  • The date
  • A to-do List of 3-6 Items (don’t get too detailed, it’s just an overview)
  • Learning Target (what will student learn today?)
  • Optional: A Guiding Question
  • Optional: Homework or notes for tomorrow

Example Learning Map – Coming Soon!


Connecting With Students 

Overview: Students learn more when they trust their teachers, make a personal connect and feel safe to make mistakes. Take time each day to connect with students before diving into the academic.

Strategies:

  • Greet students at the door with a high five or a handshake and a smile. It’s a great time to let them know you’re happy to see them and glad they’re in your class.
  • Take the first 2-5 minutes of class to check in with students. It’s hard to know who might need more of our time or some extra support if we don’t learn about their day. See some check-in strategies below that are quick and effective.
    • 1-5 Fingers Check-In
      • Ask students to share about their day rating it with their fingers 1 (bad) – 5 (amazing). Quickly move from student to student so they can share why they chose that number.
    • Thumbs Up, Sideways, Down Check-In
      • As students to rate their day giving a thumbs up (positive), thumbs sideways (neutral) or thumbs down (negative). Quickly move from student to student so they can share out about their day.
    • Quick Whip
      • Ask students a question – they can be fun, silly or serious. Then, move from student to student quickly so they can share out their answers.
        • Example Questions:
          • What was your favorite part about this day/week/month?
          • If you could change one thing about today/tomorrow/yesterday what would it be?
          • Are you a morning or night person? How do you know?
          • What qualities does your best friend have?
          • If you could eliminate one food from your diet forever what would it be?
    • Anonymous Day
      • Ask students to silently write about their day for 1-2 minutes but tell them to leave their names off their papers. Collect the papers and read all (or a few) aloud to the class.
      • Alternative: Ask students to write about a random topic and read them aloud. See example question above.

Formative Assessment

Overview: formative assessments are what teachers do to determine if their students understand a lesson or need more instruction. They can happen quickly and easily throughout a lesson or be executed through an assignment or written work.

Strategies:

  • Rate Learning: Have students give you a thumbs up, sideways or down OR a 1-5 with their fingers to demonstrate their level of understanding. Focus on the students who give you a low number or thumbs sideways or down during work time.
  • Walk and Listen: Walk around the room and listen to what students are saying as they work together or look at what they’re writing. What do they understand? What don’t they understand? If you start to see the same error again and again, stop the class, reteach and then allow students to go back to their work.
  • Walk, Listen and Write: This is a great strategy when students are learning via discussion. Walk around the room and write down what you hear, including the name of the student who said it – but don’t intervene. When students are done discussing, share with the class what you heard and provide insight and instruction at that point. Students love to hear what they contributed to discussion and it’s a great way to add your instruction into their thinking process.
  • A Star & A Wish: At the end of the lesson ask students to write or verbally share a star (something they learned) and a wish (something they want to improve). This can be a quick whip activity.

Small Group Instruction 

Overview: One of teaching’s greatest struggles is how to support students who are at all different levels of learning. This is where small group instruction comes in.

Strategies:

  • High/Medium/Low Activity: Plan three different activities for your class. Plan one for students who are doing well and can work independently (high), plan another for students who are doing OK but might need extra help (medium) and another for students who are struggling and need extra instruction (low). Spend most of your time with the extra instruction group, but check-in on the other two groups to make sure they understand the work.
    • High/Medium/Low Example – English 2 Class
      • High Group: Writing assignment (have them share it with the class at some point that day or another day).
      • Medium Group: Practice writing complete sentences and finding the nouns and the verbs.
      • Low Group: Work on phonics – sounding out letters to make words and recognizing words without using pictures as cues.
  • Guest Teacher vs. Extra Help: After you teach a lesson ask students to decide if they need extra help or practice with you OR if they understand the content well enough to teach it. Have the expert group create questions or problems for the rest of the class while the extra help group works with you to improve their understanding. At the end of the class spend 5-10 minutes inviting your experts to be guest teachers by sharing their questions or problems with the class. This works really well in math and can work well with English or Nepali language practice.
  • High/Low Partner Work: Put two students together for the class period. Choose a student who is a higher student to work with a student who tends to struggle. They do the work together for the day, but write it on their own paper. Encourage them to discuss the work before asking you for help.

Student Engagement Techniques

Overview: Student engagement is the best part of teaching! We want students to ENJOY being in our classes and student engagement is what draws them in. The strategies below will increase learning, but it will also make your class more fun (which will make it go by quickly!).  When you have strong student engagement you have happy students and a supportive learning community.

Techniques:

  • No Raised Hands: Don’t allow students to raise hands. Randomly call on students as you see fit. If a student doesn’t know the answer, ask, “Who can help her out?” and allow another student to contribute. Or, say, “talk with your table and I’ll come back to you for an answer.” All students should be prepared to be called on at all times.
  • Think, Pair, Share: After asking students a questions give them a minute to write or think about their response, then share it with their partner or table, then call on students to respond. This is especially helpful when introducing new information or giving students challenging work.
  • Guest Teacher: Instead of sharing the correct answers with students, ask a student to come up and be the teacher! Allow him or her to run your lesson and correct the responses from his/her peers. You can support from his or her seat.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle (divide the work): Instead of having students complete all of the practice work on their own, put each student or group of student in charge of 1-3 questions and have them share out their answers at the end. The rest of the class can write their answers in as you go. This is a quick way to accomplish a lot of work.
  • Choral Response: When you want to know the answer to something, don’t call on one person, call on everyone. This is a safe way for everyone to share their answer aloud and be present in the lesson. You might say, “On three I want to hear your answer to problem #2. One, two, three…” and students will all reply. This increases engagement when everyone gets to participate.

Technology for the Classroom 

Overview: Technology can enhance student learning if it is used intentionally. See the strategies for using computers and device (like Kindles) in the classroom, along with some free online resources that are well used and love in the U.S.

Strategies:

  • Internet Searching (Computer or Kindle):
  • Camera (Kindle):
  • Video Camera (Kindle):
  • Using Academic Apps in Class:
  • Novel Study (Kindle):

Online Resources:

  • Socrative
  • Kahoot
  • GoogleDrive Features
  • Remind101 (online + app)