By Barbara Blackburn • Feb 1st, 2018
How important are speaking and listening in your classroom? The majority of our instruction requires students to speak and listen, either to the teacher or to other students. But I’ve found that many students don’t have strong skills in these areas. We don’t provide structured activities so that students learn how to speak and listen. Simply lecturing and expecting students to absorb what we say isn’t the best method of instruction. First, we need to teach our students how to listen.
By Barbara Blackburn • Dec 1st, 2017
Blended learning can mean different things to different people. One teacher I talked with explained it as “using technology in the classroom”, yet another described it as “incorporating technology as at least half of your instruction.” So what does it really mean?
By Barbara Blackburn • Sep 12th, 2017
Do you have students who are not living up to their potential? By shifting responsibility for learning to students, students take control of their learning, which increases engagement, and in turn, increases student achievement. There are several characteristics of student ownership of learning.
By Barbara Blackburn • May 1st, 2016
With today’s pressures related to standardized testing and accountability, you may be wondering why you should take time to teach social and emotional learning skills, especially since they are not tested. Teaching Social Emotional Learning (SEL) typically results in less discipline problems, higher student engagement, and increased academic achievement. So when we encourage positive social and emotional skills, we do impact student learning.
By Barbara Blackburn • Mar 1st, 2016
Why is writing important? Because it is reflective of thinking. If you want students to think at higher levels, then provide opportunities for them to write across all the areas of the curriculum. There are three ways to use writing in your classroom.
By Barbara Blackburn • Dec 11th, 2015
Do you have students who struggle in your classroom? One of the key aspects of instruction for struggling learners is the support and scaffolding we provide. It’s important to realize that support should be used at an appropriate level through the learning process. At the beginning of new learning, more support is needed. However, as the learning continues, we want students to become more independent in their learning. This is called gradual release.
By Barbara Blackburn • Oct 1st, 2015
Have you ever seen a large oak tree? We had one in our yard when I was growing up, and I was always surprised at its size. But what really amazed me was to realize that huge tree started as a small acorn.
Our students are like that, too. They will grow into a tree, but right now they may be acorns. And what will help them grow are our actions. Will we stand by and just assume that our students will always be acorns? Or can we see that they have the potential to be oak trees?
That’s the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. As Carol Dweck explains, a fixed mindset assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static and cannot be changed. A growth mindset, on the other hand, adopts the perspective that our intelligence, creativity, and character can change and grow over time.
By Barbara Blackburn • Aug 1st, 2015
Building a relationship with your students is the most important action you can take to ensure a good year that will help your students learn. There are three specific ways to build a relationship with your students.
By Barbara Blackburn • May 1st, 2015
Student motivation is one of the biggest challenges we face as teachers. As we consider how to motivate students, we need to consider the four myths of student motivation.
By Barbara Blackburn • Apr 1st, 2015
Grading is a controversial topic. That’s partly because it is very personal. It’s your judgment about a student’s work. However, grading can also be controversial because what the evaluation is based on can vary. Let’s look at key indicators of effective grading, using the acronym of GRADE.