Facilitating a Class Twitter Chat

Tips for hosting a Twitter chat with your students—a handy tool for enhancing digital literacy and engaging introverts.
Two speech bubbles formed from icons indicating Twitter and other digital tools

There are many advantages to using Twitter chats in class. Teachers can use them to encourage digital literacy, offer immediate feedback on students’ ideas, and track participation via the chat hashtag. The format allows a large number of students to share thoughts at the same time, and may help shy students participate as they don’t have to speak in public. And Twitter chats can inspire creativity by allowing both students and the teacher to supplement the discussion with digital resources like photos and videos.

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Secret Admirers and Classroom Management

A simple activity can reduce friction in a classroom by guiding students to focus on each other’s strengths.
Two elementary school girls are smiling and standing side by side.

Although my first year of teaching was more than two decades ago, I clearly remember how my second graders returned from Thanksgiving more settled and focused. I was teaching at a public school in Oakland, California, and as December began, I was hopeful, energetic and increasingly confident about the learning routines I’d established in my class. Yet cliques had formed among some of the girls, and too often kids were not nice to each other. Another teacher had given me a book called Tribes, a guide to building a safe and caring learning community in the classroom. I wholeheartedly adopted it.

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Giving Students a Little Taste of a Book A creative way to give students a choice in what they read and differentiate instruction to help them grow as readers.

Students read in a school library.

I learned about the book tasting—an opportunity for students to try out a variety of books—from an instructional coach at my school, who modeled it for the teachers, enabling us to learn firsthand what this activity can do.

To start, I gather titles in a variety of genres from the school library, classroom library, and literacy library—it’s best to have a few copies of each book. I set up my tasting by putting my students in seven groups of four, with four titles in a different genre for each group. One group is generally realistic fiction, one literary nonfiction, one fantasy, and so forth. With groups of four, students get to experience different viewpoints without being overwhelmed—every student gets a chance to contribute when they discuss their books.

Continue reading “Giving Students a Little Taste of a Book A creative way to give students a choice in what they read and differentiate instruction to help them grow as readers.”

A Case for Finger Counting New research suggests that young children may make gains in math by counting with their fingers.

Photo of a girl’s hands as she uses her fingers to do math

Teachers generally start telling children to stop counting on their fingers around the end of first grade—they’re learning to do math in their heads, and finger counting is sometimes seen as a crutch or even a sign of weak math ability.

A new British study published in Frontiers in Education suggests that this may be a mistake because finger counting seems to boost math learning when paired with number games.

In the four-week experiment, 137 6- and 7-year-old children were split into five groups. One group participated in finger-counting exercises such as counting from 1 to 10 using each finger, showing the correct number of fingers when told a specific number, and doing simple addition or subtraction problems using their fingers. The second group played number games (e.g., dominoes and card games). The third and fourth groups did both—they performed finger-counting exercises and played number games. The final group was the control and didn’t participate in either the exercises or the games.

Continue reading “A Case for Finger Counting New research suggests that young children may make gains in math by counting with their fingers.”

The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources Get a roundup of educational grants, contests, awards, free toolkits, and classroom guides aimed at helping students, classrooms, schools, and communities. Check this page weekly to get the latest updates!

 

Photo of hands at keyboard

NEW! Small Research Grants from Spencer Foundation
Deadline: August 1; November 1, 2017

The Small Research Grant program from the Spencer Foundation supports education research projects with budgets of $50,000 or less. In general, the foundation funds projects that “will contribute to the improvement of education,” and the foundation accepts proposals in several areas of study, including the relationship of education and social opportunity, new civics, instructional resources, organizational learning, and purpose of education. See a list of past winning projects, as well as application details online.
Prize: Grants average about $50,000.
Mockingbird Foundation Music Education Grants
Deadline: August 1, 2017 Continue reading “The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources Get a roundup of educational grants, contests, awards, free toolkits, and classroom guides aimed at helping students, classrooms, schools, and communities. Check this page weekly to get the latest updates!”