A New Year, New Idea strategy! Week #1
A new year, new ideas! That’s the goal for the next several weeks. There’s no doubt that teaching is hard, so it makes sense that we fall back on the same familiar strategies to make planning and implementing a little easier. I’d like to challenge you to follow along for the next 8 weeks as I highlight a new (or new to you) strategy. Try one or more of them to add that spark into the remainder of your school year.
A low prep, easy to implement strategy is the Graffiti Board. Build student curiosity and help students connect with their notes by taking away the rules of notes. While the graffiti board strategy is not a note taking strategy, it can help students process and understand their notes, while at the same time learn from other students.
First, decide where you want your students to “graffiti”. It can be as simple as chart paper at a table group or your classroom whiteboard or as large as you have room for. Then pose a question or topic and let students write, discuss and graffiti about it for a specific length of time (10 – 15 min). Students can write their thoughts, a response, ask their own questions and/or make connections. With no rules and no need to take turns, this strategy is a great way for all students to get involved with little to no risk for more timid students.
A few tips for implementation:
1. Prepare materials: paper, clear space on the whiteboard, butcher paper on the wall etc… markers to write with (encourage students to use color and pictures)
2. Set the ground rules: clear expectations of the purpose of the strategy
3. Prepare topic and a few questions to pose: you may need several related questions in case students need help getting their thoughts started
This strategy can provide you with valuable information about what your students know, understand and wonder about a topic. It can help you prepare lessons that more closely relate to your students. I encourage you to try it and watch how your students respond. You may be surprised at who is willing to participate in the discussion!