Sunday, July 21, 2013

Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is My Go to Book Right Now

Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is my go to book right now.  I am feeling the back to school dragon breathing down my neck.  In fact, I had a small taste of professional development this past week and we dove into this book. 


Last school year, I was invited to join a leadership cohort group that my county put together.  I have to say that our sessions have been the best professional development that I have had in a long time. One of the exciting things about this group is that we are combined with all grades level teachers and subject areas.  I have been able to meet some great new friends and we have shared lots of fantastic classroom ideas. I spent last week sitting and collaborating with a middle school health teacher and an ELA middle school teacher.  We had so much fun sharing ideas and resources.   

One of our assignments was to read the following book: 
Best Practice Bringing Standards to Life in America's Classrooms.  By Steven Zemelman, Havey Smokey Daniels and Arthur Hyde

Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is My Go to Book Right Now, photo
I read this book in chunks over the summer and during our PD we discussed The Seven Structures of Best Practice Teaching. Some of the standards hit home with me and I knew that I was using them daily in my classroom but others were a bit of a stretch.  That being said I easily set goals for myself on how I could incorporate those standards into my teaching for the new year. 


Here are the standards~I highlighted the ones I want to work on this school year. 
Gradual Release of Responsibility: In this standard, teachers do a lot of modeling, allowing students to try with the teacher's support, and then on their own. (I do this everyday in large and small groups in my classroom.)  

Classroom Workshop: In this standard, children guide their learning through topic choice in books and writing.  They also collaborate with each other and the teacher to discuss their learning. (I love workshop!  I also teach math workshop and writer's workshop.)

Strategic Thinking: This standard teaches students to monitor their own thinking, sensory images, ask questions, and draw inferences.
(This was an standard that I spent last year really focusing on with my students.  My students are great thinkers because the recognize that their thinking supports their learning.)

Collaborative Activity: In this standard, students learn to work together in groups to support their learning.  Each student learns to participate in order for the group to complete an assignment.  
(I want to make sure that my collaborative activities are not just group work.  I want all students to have an active role in the group.) 

Integrative Units: Represent to Learn: In this standard, teachers take a theme or topic and stretches it across the curriculum in the classroom. (This is how I teach!  I love making connections with my students in all areas of the classroom.)

Representing to Learn: This standard allows students to represent their learning through writing, drawing, acting out, and presenting.  
(We focused lots last school year on speaking and listening skills in class.) 

Formative Reflection and Assessment: This standard allows teachers to assess in a more informal way such as portfolios and anecdotal notes.  (I have to admit that assessments are not my favorite.  I did start using Data Notebooks with my class this past year and the results were amazing.  My students charted their own progress in reading and spelling.  My parents loved them and I am hoping to revamp them to make them even better this school year.) 

I wanted to share a really neat collaborative activity that we used in our cohort called a Written Discussion.  It is really simple but it packs a huge punch for learning.  All you need is a sheet of paper and a pencil for each student.  
We first discussed the standard Representing to Learn.  We had a silent discussion with our table groups by writing our thinking on the standard for 2 minutes.  After the 2 minutes we passed the paper.  Our instructor gave us a minute to read what was written and then we responded to what was written on the page.  We continued this until everyone had responded on everyone's paper. 
Check out our thinking below! 


Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is My Go to Book Right Now Written Conversation Example, photo of
It was really neat to read everyone's thinking on the standard.  I  am excited to use this in my classroom this year!  I know my students will enjoy drawing pictures and words to represent how they feel about a topic.  Grab a FREE copy below!


Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is My Go to Book Right Now  and a Free PDF of my Written Conversation template, photo of

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