So, maybe you just found out your district is transitioning to Marzano, or maybe you just had Marzano training and your head is spinning, or maybe you've heard of it and are just curious to learn what it's all about. Whichever is true for you, the Marzano placemat is a great place to start. Here is a modified version of it:
The placemat breaks best teaching practices into three general categories. I call the first category "Things To Do Every Day". The most important things in this category are deciding what you want students to learn and how you will measure what they learn. I use a daily scale in conjunction with a daily learning log students rate themselves on at the beginning and end of class. CLICK HERE FOR A FREE DIGITAL COPY OF MY DAILY LEARNING LOG.
I call the second part "Planned Activities". This section more or less lists a lot of best practice strategies you can implement. This is my favorite part because it helps you think about you want students to learn (what you identified in the first category), and select which strategy or activities will best help your students learn it.
I call the last part "Off the Cuff" strategies, but, really, some of them are things that can (and should) be planned for that just look like they are off the top of your head - things like playing quick games. Others are just things good teachers do like "Maintain a Lively Pace" or "Engage Low Expectancy Students."
I really think the way Dr. Marzano categorized and presented things on his placemat make it much easier to understand how all these best practices can go together to get the best results possible, and am excited to share with you what I have learned about Marzano goals, scales and best practices!
Roll that Die!, Histopardy!, Vocabo, Vocab Spoons, etc., etc. is a partial list of the group-based games I've become known for in my classroom over the years. They are all great, all get kids excited, competitive, and focused on content. Best of all, all of them produce results. The vast majority of my students tend to score in the 80's or 90's on my assessments!
Another thing they all have in common is that in my "COVID Classroom" I can't play any of them without significant modification.
Fortunately, I have found or created new games to fill the gap! Below are some of my favorites:
So, I think students learn best when they interact with each other. When they do, they use terms and make connections that I wouldn't be able to. For instance, I had a few students last year who kept relating things back to anime characters that I had never heard of. It worked for them, so I am okay with it.
Small group interactions is much more difficult in a socially distanced "COVID Classroom". Google Docs provided me a way to allow students to work in small groups while staying socially distant.
If you give any of these a try, please let me know how it went in the comments below and don't forget to visit my store for more great Social Studies resources.
These two words pretty much define my teaching this year. I had a set way of doing things until COVID. Many of these things have had to change. These changes have come through a lot of thinking and trial and error, but, fortunately, I have found some solutions to my biggest problems caused by teaching in my "COVID Classroom". My first big discovery was how whiteboards can be used to replace a lot of the group-based activities I have always done as well as give me a window into their social emotional wellness.
I ordered a class set of mini-whiteboards a few years ago with grand ideas of how I would use them, but never really utilized them very well or often because I didn't have too - I had other activities and strategies that I was more comfortable with that I kept falling back on. Now that most of those group-based strategies cannot happen in a socially distanced classroom, I wiped the dust off my whiteboards, and they have been a Godsend! I use them all the time now. Here are some of the ways I've been utilizing them that have been the most effective:
I hope these were helpful and maybe sparked some ideas. If they did, please let me know in the comments, and don't forget to visit my store for great Social Studies resources!
Over 18 years of teaching, I have developed techniques and strategies for getting my students engaged in and loving history. Everything is based on learning in collaborative groups that foster small risk taking within a small group that eventually blossoms into whole-class level confidence for shy or typically lower achieving students. A classroom where we act things out, do group-based warm ups, learning activities, and review games using a variety of collaborative strategies. Everything was a well-oiled, smoothly running, Marzano-based interactive and inclusive machine that engaged the vast majority of my students. Oh, and no computers - everything we did was pencil and paper based.
Then Friday, March 13th happened. Like many of you, the end of the school year was just survival mode for me. We were directed to provide students with ungraded work as best we could and we'd be back to normal by September.
Well, it's November, and almost NOTHING is back to normal. I know some schools are fully remote, some are hybrid and some are fully face to face. My district offers face to face instruction for families that need/prefer it as well as a fully virtual option. The end result is that instead of having 115ish students, I have around 75 or so for face to face instruction spread across 4 classrooms that they stay in all day long while us teachers rotate every hour.
The other day, I called my dad and he asked how it was going. The only thing that came to mind was, "It's hard. Absolutely everything is different," Although I'm getting more comfortable with things, I wouldn't say things are getting easier, I'd say I'm getting tougher. I'm starting to find some solutions to problems caused by my new "COVID Classroom" that I will be sharing here in the coming weeks. I hope they help.
In the meantime, check out my store for some great Social Studies resources (over 70 of which are Google-based and able to be shared through Google Classroom), and if you have any tips or ideas that might help others, please leave them in the comments section.
I'm a 14 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.