Are you already feeling the intoxication of summer vacation? Yes, we resonate with you! But really, do we stop learning in the summer? Of course not!
We may be learning different things, like how to drive a 5th wheel, or the best vacation spots on a budget, or what it feels like to read a …. novel!
As educators we’re pretty much addicted to learning.
And we’re instilling that passion for lifelong learning into our students. The last few years have had us all on a steep learning curve and our instructional flexibility and creativity has grown as a result.
We launched Next Steps with Project GLAD® just before the pandemic began, and have been right there learning and growing with you. Thank you for sharing your celebrations, challenges and ideas with us. We've been listening and asking:
Have you ever felt completely unmotivated? We’ve all been there. And so have our students.
All teachers struggle from time to time with engaging unmotivated students. It begs the question, why aren’t they engaged? At the most basic level, student need to have their physical and psychological needs met in order to learn. You may be familiar with the phrase, “Maslow before Bloom”. Students who are tired, hungry, lonely, scared, frustrated… face an invisible barrier to engage fully in the learning process.
Today, we’re focusing on meeting students’ needs in one of these areas: love and belonging.
“Feeling personally accepted, respected, included, and supported in the school environment makes students feel they belong to a school (Taylor & Sobel, 2011). Students who lack a sense of belonging are often unmotivated and non-participative.” (OCDE Project GLAD Learning Guide, 2015)
How to enhance a sense of...
Your brain is a lean mean music machine!
There are multiple parts of the brain that like to get in on the dance. And the Mighty Amygdala is no wallflower. The amygdala has three layers of cells. The top layer picks up its cue from smells, seeing faces, and sounds - especially the sounds of music, happy music! This feeds directly into our emotional response.
Music can generate an atmosphere of well-being and positivity. It can calm and relax. It can spark the flow of ideas and creativity. It can focus and target brain waves for concentration.
Experiencing music together creates a sense of group cohesion.
Music becomes even more uniting when we add collective movement to the rhythm and beat, like snapping fingers, clapping hands, or tapping feet together. Adding movement (TPR - Total Physical Response) also ignites neuroplasticity across the group.
Bring on the music… but use it intentionally.
Choose the tune to set the tone...
The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and hope is spreading all around us. Yes, it's spring!
This year, we needed the signs of new life that spring brings more than ever.
Whether your students are in the classroom or joining you from home, consider all the ways you can bring fresh life into their daily learning experience. Perhaps you'll adopt a class bunny (for the courageous!), plant seeds, or go on a geometry treasure hunt in nature.
Some of my favorite writing lessons came from taking students outside in the spring to observe and write about the growing flora and fauna. One spring we fit all our writing standards into an insect unit. We wrote insect poetry, scientific journaling on the butterfly life cycle (watching pupas emerge in the classroom), creative writing inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's, Two Bad Ants, and of course our very own entomologist reports on each student's insect of choice.
Those of you already teaching with GLAD® strategies...
We love collaborating with language specialists during GLAD® trainings!
At the beginning of the week they consult with us on how to focus their energy and where to start.
By the end of the week they teach us new answers to the age old question:
The following are ideas we have gleaned from professionals in the field, like you.
Push-in to their classroom, or better yet, embark on co-teaching during your times with their students. Find ways to share the load and try new things.
For example, the classroom teacher does an Input chart and the language specialist leads the ELD review with a small group or a word card review with the whole class. Collaborate to find other ways to focus on the language demands of what is going on in the regular classroom through GLAD® strategies.
The scent of hot laminate wafting through the workroom is a smell all educators are familiar with! The pile of items to be laminated at the beginning of the school year or when creating a GLAD® unit could rival the Eiffel tower and is somehow synonymous with productivity.
Laminate item that will be stored and used again so you only have to create them once:
That's pretty much it!
In order to take full advantage of the language functional environment you have created leave everything else as paper charts. This gives you and the students the freedom to interact with the charts on a daily basis. Add information, revise, sketch, highlight, post pictures.
Laminating black line charts, inputs, or chants and then using vis-a-vis or dry erase markers to process is an idea that many...