Usually I begin my posts with stories of my clients, teacher friends, or of my own experience. Today, though, I want to give you the facts for those of you wanting more freedom in your lives or provide balance being mothers AND effective teachers.
For the record, I know you’re an excellent teacher because you’re spending your time to read a blog post about teaching. I’m beginning with that so I’m not going to back up and teach you anything you don’t already know but to provide you a shift in perspective.
The three instructional HUGELY impactful strategies featured here should not be new to you. I’ll provide links to previous blog posts throughout if you’re unclear on the particulars for how to implement them.
Feedback. Research proves that providing student immediate and timely feedback increases student learning. That’s a given. What’s not a given is that the strategy saves you an immense amount of time on grading and on writing feedback on papers at home or after school. Grading and providing written feedback (later) are actually less effective!
Take the time during small group or while students are practicing any lesson to provide immediate, corrective feedback. That way, you’ll know exactly where they are during the learning process, and they can make corrections immediately. Once they make their corrections, put a smiley face on their work, check it them off a list, and send the work home.
Accountable Talk. Students listening, engaging in conversation, and providing feedback to each other provides exponential growth to children’s brains. Accountable talk provides you time through two avenues:
The first is that students are able to check each other’s work and make corrections before you even see it—providing you time to work with a small group or help students individually. Secondly, students discussing any concept, skill, or idea decreases the amount of time you have to re-teach.
I’ve seen it happen so many times! Each year I probably have 5-10 students who do not want to or can’t focus during a model or whole group lesson. If they’re held accountable by being required to discuss and listen to each other, they are able to hear the information from their peers and they’re more likely to focus during direction instruction. It’s just more effective and you have more time!
Effort and Understanding. Easy, effective, and provides a built-in barometer for students reflecting on their own learning. It literally takes 30 seconds at the beginning and the end of each lesson, and provides enormous benefits.
There you have them…3 research-based, hugely impactful strategies that save you time in the classroom, at home (with lots less grading), AND give your brain a little wiggle room to focus on your home life. Not only that, your impact on your students will continue to be amazing. Now, I’m excited!