Warm Welcomings is a strategy I use to develop a strong positive culture in my blended classroom. When students enter into an inviting atmosphere and begin the class on a positive note, they are able to focus better. It is important to me to start off class together on the rug because my students spend a significant portion of the class working independently on computers and in small groups. Warm Welcomings gives us the time to come together as a community of scholars and it can be anything from a "welcome back from recess" to an invitation for students to share something positive about their time away from class.
The vocabulary game is a way for students to practice word meaning embedded at the end of a phonics lesson. To play, a word, phrase or meaning is given and students need to write the word from the decoded phonics words. Once they have a word written they seek the approval by me with a thumbs up to signal when they wrote the correct word, or a thumbs down to have them try again. The use of the thumb provides an anonymous check for understanding.
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 Raul’s culture impacts student achievement!
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.