Happy New Year! It’s the perfect time to try new teaching ideas in the classroom. Here’s our list of teaching ideas to try in 2017…all organized into 5 categories: classroom management ideas, technology teaching ideas and tools, visible learning techniques, formative assessment ideas, and cross-curricular teaching strategies.
Classroom Management Ideas
1. Love Your Students.
We all know relationships matter. Ruby Payne is often quoted, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” Let’s take it another step. No significant learning occurs without significant love.Remind your students of their human worth by loving unconditionally.Click To Tweet If we view students as problems, they’ll know it. If we have no passion for them and their success – they’ll know it. Remind your students of their human worth by loving unconditionally.
2. Expect the Best.
No parent sends their child to you for 6-8 hours a day just to get 2nd rate expectations. Expect the best, support the best, teach the best, and get the best!
3. Praise, affirm, encourage.
If you truly challenge your students, they will need positive interactions. The curricular struggles should be so intense that your positive feedback is welcomed like water to a desert adventurer.Reward growth, not smarts.Click To Tweet Word of caution: don’t praise the attributes that students can’t control. Instead, focus your positive attention on those actions they can and should control. These include effort, organization, attempts, recovering from mistakes, taking risks, and other habits that promote learning. Reward growth, not smarts.
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4. Build a Class Culture, Not Just Class Rules.
Initiate routines and rituals to celebrate your class. You are the creator of a community. If you don’t create the culture, a handful of students will. Build in weekly celebrations for a variety of reasons. Create ways to recognize two students each week. Establish a system for positive communication home. Recognize the class as a whole. Create a culture where students are celebrated.
5. Redirect Individuals Privately.
Could you imagine how horrible it would be for your principal to correct you in front of your peers at a faculty meeting? We all make mistakes, but no one deserves public humiliation or shame. Celebrate the whole group, but provide correction privately. This helps the students understand the importance of your message and retain the relationship and respect they have for you.
6. Rise Above the Minutia
It’s so hard to remain focused on the big picture when students struggle with some of the smallest details. No pencil. No paper. Bugging a peer. Tapping a desk. Et cetera. Retain your professionalism, and your peace of mind, by rising above the minutia. Focus on the learning. Find the positive. Ignore the trivial details.
7. Revisit Your Management Plan
Your plan should handle the details for you. Revisit the strategies in your plan. Revise it to take care of those headaches that occur frequently. Then review it with your students. Before and after the winter break, spring break, and summer break students need to hear the plan again. They need you to lead the refocusing – otherwise, the plan will not work.
Technology Teaching Ideas and Tools
Technology for teaching, or teachnology, can revitalize student attention and interest! If you’re new to teachnology, Start by choosing 2 resources and figure out which of the two will work for you.
Skype is a great way to connect your classroom to other students and experts around the world.
This is similar to a website or blog. It is unique and great for because a wiki allows you and student to organize and share information. It becomes a repository for students year after year.
A quick and easy software to explore and understand data. There is a trial version, but this resource is not free.
This is an old standby for classroom videos and games that supplement instruction. It’s also a great incentive for students who finish early or need motivation to stay engaged.
Infographics are excellent ways to present information visually. It is great for visual aids, handouts, and analysis. It also works for student projects. A few resources are Piktochart, Infogram, Smores, and Canva.
Integrate videos, direct instruction, and quizzing. This tool allows you to quickly create a montage of information and hold students accountable for processing and learning.
This resource is not new, but it has new great features such as integration with Office 365 and Google Classroom. It allows for student-directed work, teacher-directed presentations, and automatically graded quizzes.
Visible Learning Techniques
In two previous posts, we discussed the amazing results of visible learning strategies. Here’s a quick list of the easiest strategies to use.
Read more about Visible Learning Strategies Here
15. I Used to Think, But Now
This is a simple prompt that helps students see their learning. Use a T-chart with the first column labeled, “I Used to Think” and the second column labeled, “But Now.” Your students make a list at the beginning of a lesson. Then they make a list in the second column at the end of the lesson.
16. The Grit Reflection
This is a reflection strategy focused on developing grit and resiliency in students. Pose several questions and ask students to rate their effort on a scale of 1-10. Use questions such as, “What parts of the learning were hard for you?” and “How has this helped you to be a stronger learner?”
17. Think-Pair-Share Learning Targets
Long-gone are the days of merely posting an objective on the board. TLW, TSW, and other acronyms are out. They are meaningless. Instead, ask students to think about their learning at the beginning of a lesson by presenting a target for their learning. Then have students pair up and share their thoughts about the learning target. What does it mean? What do you know about it already? What do you not know about it?
18. Make Connections
In any task, stop and ask students to make as many connections as possible. Connections to previous learning, to another class, to their own interests, to jobs and careers, to life. Discuss these connections as a class, so students can visualize the value of their work.
Formative Assessment Ideas and Strategies
Ample evidence supports the effectiveness of assessing students during the learning process. Assessment for learning, rather than assessment of learning. Here are assessment ideas to try in 2017.
19. Postcard to Another Grade Level
Postcards capture and share the essence of the moment. They are perfect for summarizing learning. Use an index card. Students draw or sketch on one side. Then they create a simplified explanation on the other side. If you ask them to do it for a younger student, it will force students to simplify and analyze their own thinking.
20. Magazine Collage
Gather those old magazines and have students create a collage that represents the core concepts of a unit. This assessment strategy is perfect for a two or three-week study.
21. Writing to Learn
The old journal is still the perfect place for a quick write. Devote just 1-3 minutes and ask students to write about the learning in this lesson. Have them write the entire time. If they can’t think of complete thoughts, ask them to simply list words associated with the lesson.
22. Create Captions
Give students pictures or diagrams of the learning. A simple Google search can help you. Ask students to write a brief caption for each picture to explain the lesson.
24. Four Corners
When the bum is numb, the brain is dumb. In other words, sitting too long is bad for learning. Use this formative assessment technique to increase physical activity. Pose a multiple choice question. Designate each corner of the room A, B, C, or D. Students move to the corner based on their chosen answer.
Cross-Curricular Teaching Strategies
Increase relevance and retention by integrating learning from other subject areas. Here are some simple ways to reach across the curriculum, even when other subjects are scary for you.
25. Create a Class Timeline
With any given lesson find a historical context to integrate social studies. Who created this formula? Where did this scientific theory come from? When did this author go to school? Have a class timeline where you add one historical fact each week for your content area. This creates a visual for each week of the school year. It also links history into your subject area.
26. Graph the Data
Science and math are obvious cousins. But you can integrate data and numbers into language arts and social studies by quantifying your content. How many commas? How many semi-colons? How many ethnicities? How many governments? Then graph it.
27. Embrace Literacy Across All Courses
Write to learn. Read to learn. Use print-rich resources in all subjects. Teach vocabulary directly in all subjects. Embrace the power of literacy. Thank you so much for reading the 27 teaching ideas for 2017, please share with a friend and explore other ideas below…
Explore more teaching ideas and strategies:
- What is Student Visible Learning?
- Close Reading for Elementary Students
- Scaffolding Strategies that are Easy to Use
- Games and Student Interest in Learning