Instructional Openings

Conversational Warm-Up

Generating student talk in the classroom is a focal point for my teaching, and it is important that those conversations happen in both high-stakes and low-stakes settings. A Warm-Up is the forum for a low-stakes conversation that can generate a high return. For example, the journey for a student to become an excellent oral presenter can be an uncomfortable one. Opening class with a conversation where students can talk with each other in anticipation of these growing pains does perpetuate a sense of camaraderie and support, although my students have referred to it as a feeling of "shared doom". Additionally, a teacher can have an influence on the energy of the class depending on what prompts are crafted for the Conversational Warm-Up.


Strategy Resources (2)
 
Online Student Resource
 
 
The class agenda shows why the Conversational Warm-Up addresses the emotional needs of the class given the high-stakes graduation requirement for which they are preparing. Ironically, conversations themselves used to be the challenging part of class. As the year progresses and students engage in conversations frequently through structures like Warm-Ups, the conversations actually become tools for learning and lessening anxiety around other actual assessments.
 
Online Student Resource
 
 
The class agenda shows why the Conversational Warm-Up addresses the emotional needs of the class given the high-stakes graduation requirement for which they are preparing. Ironically, conversations themselves used to be the challenging part of class. As the year progresses and students engage in conversations frequently through structures like Warm-Ups, the conversations actually become tools for learning and lessening anxiety around other actual assessments.
Johanna Paraiso
Fremont High School Oakland
Oakland, CA

Generating student talk in the classroom is a focal point for my teaching, and it is important that those conversations happen in both high-stakes and low-stakes settings. A Warm-Up is the forum for a low-stakes conversation that can generate a high return. For example, the journey for a student to become an excellent oral presenter can be an uncomfortable one. Opening class with a conversation where students can talk with each other in anticipation of these growing pains does perpetuate a sense of camaraderie and support, although my students have referred to it as a feeling of "shared doom". Additionally, a teacher can have an influence on the energy of the class depending on what prompts are crafted for the Conversational Warm-Up

 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Quick
Subject:
English / Language Arts
Grade:
Twelfth grade
Similar Strategies
Instructional Openings
Just the Facts

Just the Facts asks one to two students to summarize quickly the reading that will be used in the day's discussion. We follow a simple protocol of "Who + What"--citing which characters from the text did what significant actions in order to move the plot forward. When the initial student is finished sharing key facts from the reading, another student might be asked to fill in any other details. If there are plot details that are incorrect, it is an opportunity for other students to correct the errors. These "police report" type of summaries can be audio or video recorded, quickly edited, and then posted on to the class website as a more engaging way for students to review significant plot points from our class texts. Although there is an ideal reading pace at which I want students to move, some will be ahead of the reading calendar and some will be behind. Also, many students are anxious or reluctant to share out loud when it comes to analysis of the reading. Given that the Just the Facts reports the text's plot and simply the facts, more students are enthusiastic about sharing because the strategy allows different students to be the experts in relaying facts.

 
Assessment & Data
Johanna's Use of Assessments and Data

Assessment and data play a crucial role in a blended teacher’s classroom. Blended learning gives teachers an opportunity to assess consistently throughout a class, in a way that drives instruction, impacts grouping, and assignments. Blended educators have to develop capacity to sift through multiple sources of data and synthesizes quickly into action. Check out how Johanna utilizes Assessment and Data here.

 
Collaborative Student Groups
Socratic Seminar

Socratic Seminars are one method for discussing complex texts, and they are also useful forums where students can metacognate about their learning process and even share best practices. 

 
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