Academic Culture

Daniel's Classroom Culture

A positive classroom culture promotes student engagement, efficiency, and academic growth. Culture influences how and why students learn and ties the students to the teacher on a personal level. Check out the video below to see how Daniel's culture impacts student achievement!

Strategy Resources (1)
Daniel Utset-Guerrero
Holmes Elementary School
Miami, FL


About this strategy

Prep Time:
Fifth grade
Similar Strategies
Blended Learning Model Overviews
Stephen's Model Overview

In my school, students use a lab rotation system where they go to a computer lab for set amounts of time to work on online content through sites such as Lexia and ST Math.  In my own class, I also use a station rotation system, where groups of students spend time learning in different ways.  Online sites like Khan Academy and FrontRow help to differentiate the content, collaborative skills make learning social, and teacher interventions help me to address misconceptions. My students gain valuable digital and character skills while they manage their own learning.  My model has fostered perseverance and independence among my students that I know will help them to be successful in their lives.

Number of Students: 17 students per class

Number of Adults: one teacher; one paraprofessional (20 minutes per period)

Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 90 minutes with teacher; 90 minutes in Learning Lab

Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: Khan Academy; Google Classroom; Google Forms; Front Row; ST Math (in Learning Lab); DreamBox (in Learning Lab)

Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: Chromebooks (1:1 ratio); SMARTboard

Key Features: station rotation; lab rotation; student agency;individualized learning paths

Whole-Group Instruction
Vocab Blitz

The Vocab Blitz is a visual strategy used to teach concepts through the use of math vocabulary. Students answer deep questions about the relationship between words and math and earn tickets. They place these in the Raffle Jar, which we pick from on Fridays for a small prize. Math vocabulary just for the sake of knowing academic language is good, but the Vocab Blitz explicitly asks students to apply the terms, which allows me to build more rigorous questions and connect ideas (i.e. how volume connects to science). For example, by knowing what the dividend actually is, we have a shared language that we can use when trying to figure out if a problem is asking us to multiply or divide, and to connect to improper fractions' numerator when converting them.

Assessment & Data
Leveled Interventions

While the majority of students are working on leveled online practice, I pull groups for leveled interventions. In these targeted small gropus, I give support to students practicing the same level so they can advance to the next level. We identify the skill at hand, work on some practice problems using white boards, and then spend time working on the online practice individually. Students have the opportunity to collaborate, supporting each other in figuring out the skill to pass the level.

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