I remember sitting in a PD years ago with a presenter who said something like, "Students don't learn from reading, they learn by thinking about what they have read." At the time, I didn't quite get it - I had yet to shed an over-reliance on textbooks and worksheets. But now, I realize the presenter (whether they knew it or not) had a clear understanding of Dr. Marzano's tenth element - Helping Students Process New Content.
Below are some things you (or an administrator) could look for to see if this element is being utilized in your classroom.
I have had several earlier blog posts about readers' theater plays (Want to Make History Come Alive? has all of my plays), but today I'd like to highlight one of my favorite sets: Ancient Egypt Readers' Theater.
These plays (which are also available as part of my Ancient Egypt Complete Unit and Assessment) allow your students to put themselves into the shoes of a variety of ancient Egyptians as they learn about how to make a mummy from the point of view of a brand new (and very squeamish) assistant, finding King Tut's tomb through the eyes of famed Egyptologist Howard Carter, and, finally, how to build a pyramid from the point of view of a work-adverse teenager.
Each part in each play is written at a specific reading level so students can be assigned "just right" parts based on their reading levels (our elementary friends use these as a way for their students to practice fluency which is something some of our lowest middle school readers could also use help with). This allows students at all reading levels to access the content without fear of struggling to read things out loud above their abilities.
I use readers' theater plays in each of my World History Units and love watching my students have fun and really get into the roles - especially those students who you wouldn't expect to thrive acting things out in front of their table mates.
In my class, these plays are performed by groups of four at their tables at a voice level two so everyone in the class can participate in each play. In between each play, I also have them respond to a brief writing prompt to strengthen the connections they have made.
So, if you are looking for a way to excite and engage your students in ancient Egyptian history in a new way, click the link below for my Ancient Egypt Readers' Theater plays which are also available as part of a complete unit as well as a bundle of three sets of ancient peoples plays. While you are there, be sure to check out and follow the rest of my store for other great World History resources!
Something as simple as moving cards around on a table can be a powerful tool for kinesthetic learners (and all of our students are partially kinesthetic learners) to make connections with content. In my experience, few resources do this as well or as efficiently as vocabulary cards.
This week, I'll focus on my English Colonization Vocabulary Task Cards.
This set of 14 vocabulary terms utilizes Marzano's Six Steps for Vocabulary Acquisition when used in conjunction with my FREE Vocabulary Games resource. The words included in this set are:
These cards work great for the beginning steps of vocabulary acquisition, or as a way to reinforce or review terms throughout or at the end of a unit.
So, to help your students make better and deeper connections with these vocabulary terms, click the link below for my English Colonization Vocabulary Task Cards, and while you are there, check out and follow the rest of my store for other great American History resources!
How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.
I love that saying because it's as true for whale eating (apparently) as it is for almost anything else. How do you clean a messy house? One room at a time. Come back from 12 runs down? One base runner at a time. How do you get your students to learn a ton of Social Studies content? One small standard at a time.
So, what might you (or an administrator) look for in your classroom as evidence of this element?
I use this element all the time in class, especially during interactive note taking activities. My interactive note taking resources have "Turn and Talks" strategically built into the presentations to allow students time to process and make connections with the content before they write anything down on their activity sheets. Click the links below to check out my Interactive Note Taking resources, and don't forget to follow and explore the rest of my store for other great Social Studies resources!
It happens every year. Once the snow starts falling, my middle schoolers start going nuts. "When's break?" "Do we have to learn today?" "Will we have a snow day tomorrow?" start to replace questions like, "When did King Tut rule?" "Why are all these cultures polytheistic?" or "Which one had ziggurats again?"
I understand why they begin to shut down, I mean come on, two whole weeks off? But it still makes the time before break more, not less stressful.
I am a firm believer that breaks, even Winter, Spring and Summer, come quicker and there are less discipline issues when kids stay engaged in and have fun with content.
Instead of mindless word searches or crossword puzzles, I like to do activities that will help them make connections to and remember the content. Things like readers' theater plays, ancient writing activities (which are especially great for half days), and quick and easy, but interesting, map skills activities.
Below are some of my favorites that I use every year as breaks approach. Click on them to see if they are right for you, and enjoy your well deserved break!
I'm a 14 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.