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.
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
EEKK Think Pair Share is a fun variation on a traditional Think, Pair, Share that is useful for younger students. As an indicator to my students that they must engage in discussion with one another, I will say "Go EEKK," which stands for "elbow, elbow, knee, knee." Students recite the simple chant, “Elbow, elbow, knee, knee” and face each other knee-to-knee in the process to discuss whatever topic I have chosen. The EEKK strategy gives my students a structured way for engaging in collaborative, on-topic academic discourse.
I teach students how to read by focusing on the use of phonics rules to decode words of all types. Phonics Word-Coaching is a strategy where students refer back to the various strategies they've learned. Through the use of diacritical marks to label specific sounds in words, students take apart words and reblend them in order to read the words. The idea behind it is that eventually students will recognize these strategies without having to actually write the diacritical marks and are able to do it by sight. It's fact fluency for the reader.