Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chorally Responsive Class

I wanted to give an update on some of the ideas I've implemented this year. In my post this summer about power teaching (you can find it here), I talked about implementing several different things.
  • The class will answer, "yes" in response to my saying "class." This idea has been good. I still miss my little bell because I didn't have to say anything, but I like changing up the way I say yes. My class likes this too.
  • I will train my class to be chorally responsive and answer things in unison. I absolutely love this. It makes all the kids engaged. It puts vocabulary in their heads and mouths whether they like it or not. My kids have actually taken it upon themselves to answer with motions too. It has also taught them manners. Frequently, they all say something like, "Round to the nearest hundred, Ms. Understood." How polite, to answer adults with their name! This is a dialogue I always expected kids to have in their heads but by making it an expectation that they answer out loud it is a great form of assessment.
  • The classroom rules will be short sweet and repeated with motions regularly. I like this a lot too. Lots of times if a kid gets out of their seat, I just say, "Class, what is rule number three?" They enthusiastically respond, "Raise your hand, before you leave your seat."
  • I will have the kids do motions with learning. This has been a huge success as well. On Thursday, Mrs. Bear brings her fifth graders in to do a buddy activity. She was addressing my third graders and her fifth graders about the parts of speech. I was kind of watching in the back. She asked my third graders about each part of speech (nouns, adjectives, verbs, conjunctions and adverbs). My third graders answered her in unison with motions and then individuals elaborated. This strategy has really hit some learning modalities that are hard for me to hit otherwise. I am so not a kinesthetic learner, but a lot of my kids are and this is helping them.
  • I say, "teach" and the kids respond "okay" and teach each other as a review. I haven't used this part of power teaching much. Honestly, the noise level bothers me personally. I think now, though, that my kids are so used to using motions and answering chorally that I am ready to use this more.

Power teaching has improved my whole group teaching dramatically. I think it has to supplemented with small groups, practice work, and text book instruction; but it is an excellent addition to my classroom.

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