Council is a time for my students to share their highs and lows related to academics, and to share what's successful and struggling for them in the class. It is a non-hierarchical forum for discussion. This is important in my classroom because it gives us a powerful practice to understand more fully and appreciate the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and opinions of our classroom. It is a process that continually evolves with each group and in each time in our own developments.
One of the most powerful benefits of my school's blended learning model is the amount of time it creates for me to work individually with my students on their literacy development. One strategy I use often is a Writer's Workshop Conference, which consists of my having a targeted conversation with each student during which I am able to give feedback about his or her writing. I work hard at the beginning of the year to establish a classroom culture in which all students, regardless of the activity they are involved with at any given moment, understand how important it is that I be able to provide focused, uninterrupted support to each of them. This makes it possible for me to focus on one student's writing for three to five minutes every day while other students are working individually or in small groups.
Start, Result, Change is a strategy students use during math investigations to help them process what is hapenning in word problems. Using the parts or information students identify as being present, this strategy is a scaffold which enables students to process and consider what our next steps to solving a problem will be. Do we need to find the start, change, or the result?
Buddy Reading is a research-based fluency strategy I use with readers who lack fluency. In this strategy, my students read aloud to each other. More fluent readers can be paired with less fluent readers, or students who read at the same level can be paired to together. Buddy Reading can be used with any book since students can take turns reading by sentence, paragraph, page, or chapter.