SOMETIMES THE SMALLEST CHANGE CAN MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE
Sometimes I amaze myself! Not because I can eat four maple icing and bacon donuts in a row and have zero guilt, but because at times, I find a good solution to a super annoying problem. While reflecting on how I can make students more accountable for their learning, I was trying to solve the standard student "go-to."
You know the one. When they are reading a text and want to know what a word means without, (1) giving it any thought, (2) using context clues, or (3) being resourceful (checking notes or asking a peer), and they all begin to ask, "What does this word mean? Oh and this one too?" Some even up their game by asking in español! Flattering, but still annoying. This was driving me CRAZY! I knew that they knew these words, or at least were fully capable of figuring out their definitions in context. So, during fourth block (I'm on a block schedule), an idea from somewhere in my superior temporal gyrus (yes, I googled that) came to me. This A-HA moment was like a breath of fresh air! I couldn't wait to try it out. It was just a small tweak in our routine, but it produced positive and impactful results!
Needing to cure the annoying and never ceasing habit of being repeatedly asked, "What does this word mean?" during group, partner, or independent work activities.
The "Ask 3 Then Me" method is a good method to keep students from asking me first, however, it would not solve the "you need to work it out for yourselves" dilemma in its entirety. I wanted a solution where they all take ownership of their learning, and work cooperatively to do so. Where I could guide them if needed, but not tell them the answer(s).
I believe this may happen for the following reasons:
lack of effort/instant gratification (wanting the easy way out)
lack of confidence (the world will end if I am wrong. You know how dramatic our teenage angels can be!)
the need to hear my lovely voice (I'm leaning towards this one the most)
the need to "rush" (just want the grade)
interested, but can't figure it out (that one word is driving them loco)
This was a reading comprehension assignment about Cinco de Mayo. There are tons of resources onTPT! I am using a combination ofMartina's, Elena's, Kristy's, andAnne'sresources.
*Update: I've created my own Cinco de Mayo resources! Check them out here and here.
DING! This is what I did and it worked beautifully: Drew their attention to the whiteboard where the header "Palabras que no entiendo" was written. I explained to them that whenever they came across a word or phrase they didn't know or weren't exactly sure of its meaning, they would write it on the board. Once it's up there and another student knows its definition/figures it out then that student would write the meaning on the board. I let them know that together as a class they could figure it out, without having to automatically ask me for assistance.
Why was this change so awesome and successful?
THEY did the work!
THEY were proud as a class that they were able to do it on their own!
THEY stayed on task the entire time!
THEY made sure to check the board every now and then and see if they could contribute!
THEY were not shy about putting words up there, which meant
THEY were comfortable doing so because we had successfully created a "no judgment" zone!
THEY corrected their mistakes!
THEY TOOK OWNERSHIP OF THEIR LEARNING WITH THE GIVEN TASK!
If you have a "problem that needs to be solved, let me know! Leave a comment or tweet me! I'll do my best to solve it!