May 21, 2021
What Should Teachers START Doing Next Year?
Time for another Saturday Snippet! May's Snippets all examine how Blended and Personalized learning might look next year. For this week's Snippet, Grant Wood AEA digital learning consultant Gina Rogers asked area teachers what they will start doing next year based on what they learned this year.
Question: What are you going to start doing next year based on what you have learned this year?
Answer: "Being more explicit in teaching communication, collaboration, and discussion skills outside of my units that incorporate those as "main" activities. I want to incorporate more student talk (partner, group) in lessons. I want to make sure that I keep the students doing the work and not me - they need to be doing all the talking not me."
Embracing the adage, “Whoever is doing the talking is doing the thinking” is essential for shifting the cognitive load to students, but we have to support and scaffold the transfer of the cognitive load to students. Think of it like running a marathon. Most of us don’t wake up one day and say, “I am going to run 26.2 miles today”. It takes a little training to get to the ability to just finish the run and even more training to do it well.
So how do we train our students to run an academic marathon?
First, lean into the blended learning tenent of “flexible and responsive learning environment" that employs “student discourse that supports learning”. This means modeling for students what it looks like to discuss to learn, providing students with language stems and frames to engage in academic conversations, and providing students the space to reflect on what they learned from the discussion with peers.
Second, use the tenet of blended learning that supports students in becoming “self directed learners” by introducing students to “processes and structures to share their thinking”. Modeling and practicing thinking routines in the classroom is a great way to start making this shift. Also, provide students with metacognitive structures to support them in thinking about their thinking.
Looking for more information on how to support student thinking and discourse in the classroom? Check out these resources!
- Why talk is important in classrooms - Chapter 1, Content Area Conversations, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Carol Rothenberg
- Encouraging Academic Conversation with Talk Moves - Edutopia (Video)
- Nine Strategies for Getting More Students to Talk - Edutopia
- Project Zero’s Thinking Routines Toolbox - Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Tune in next week for another Saturday Snippet. If you ever miss a week, you can always find them archived here.