Thumbs Up, I Get This!
I make sure that my students have heard the directions I've given using this simple but effective check for understanding strategy. Having students repeat directions or an expectation provides them with an opportunity to re-state or clarify their understanding. For example, if a student responds incorrectly, I don't just move on to another student all the time. I ask the same question in a different way so that my student who initially responded incorrectly, unclearly, or incompletely has another opportunity to answer with more clarity. Thumbs Up, I Get This! is another way to hold students accountable during their independent time.
The model we have today is designed to increase the quality of small group instruction. We focus our instruction for core subjects with smaller groups so we are better able to individualize learning to meet their needs. For the first grade, we use a rotational model in both math and ELA, which provides students about 90 minutes of individual computer time daily. During teacher-led instruction we encourage students to sit in pairs or small groups and use think-pair-share strategies to lead their own conversations and engage with the material being presented.
Number of Students: 26 students
Number of Adults: one teacher; various other adults support during specific times (e.g., Blended Learning Coordinator, Special Education Teachers, etc.)
Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 90 minutes (Reading and Writing Block)
Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: MyOn; i-Ready
Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: Lenovo ThinkPads (1:2 ratio); SMARTboard; Document Camera; iPad (for teacher)
Key Features: station rotation; student agency
Front Loading gives my students an opportunity to preview skills or information in advance of it being taught to them. I used to only do Front Loading in the opening of my lessons, but now we have blended learning programs that allow my students to front-load information whenever they start reading. Some examples of Front Loading using online programs are iReady, which has additional lesson assignment capability, and MyOn, which allows my students to preview text about upcoming topics.
One of my goals as a first grade teacher is to develop independent learners that can problem solve or decide when it is time to request assistance from others. Self-reliance is a need that many parents talk to me about during conferences and as a result, I've turned to two different strategies in the classroom that allow students to continue their work while informing me of their comfort level of the task. These strategies are known as self monitoring tools that help me to prioritize which students I need to assist first.