Archive for the ‘differentiated instruction’ Category

We Are Better Together

Posted on: March 8th, 2014 by lschwartz

I am in and out of different schools weekly.  I see people working really hard.  Educators doing all they can to meet the needs of the their students.  But, more and more I see people working hard, alone.  I see classroom teachers working in isolation doing their jobs.  I see ESL/Resource teacher pulling students out and working in their own rooms.  And what I see is a lot of very tired people.

We all know teaching counts.  The heart of the matter is truly believing that we can teach all the kids we have – and we will – and others can work with us, because collectively we know enough to make a difference.

My best teaching years were the ones when I had someone to collaborate with, to plan with and to teach with, side by side.  This meant all students were in my classroom with two experts, not one. When things didn’t go quite as planned, we would share a look and as the kids cleaned up, talk about what we could change to make it better next time.  When things went well, we joyfully celebrated.  And for those moments, I want to say thank you to Heather, Julie, Dee-Ann, Colleen, Louesa, Faye, Michelle, Brooke and Jeri.  Thanks for being my plus one, my plus two, my better half in teaching and learning, at some point in my teaching and learning journey.

I urge teachers to find their plus one in their schools.  An educational assistant, teacher librarian, ELL/Resource teacher or anyone else to team with, plan with, teach with and learn with because I know in my heart, we are all better together.



Story Writing: What Happens Next?

Posted on: September 21st, 2013 by lschwartz No Comments

This week I had the pleasure of working in a grade one/two class.  We did a writing lesson that involved using one of my favourite picture books Duck and Goose by Thad Hill.

Our goals for the lesson:
I can talk about pictures from the story to predict what the story might be about.
I can draw a picture to share my thinking and build a story to write the ending.
I can use pictures and words to tell a story and share that story with someone.

The focus on oral language at the beginning of the lesson gave the children a chance to hear other people’s ideas, build vocabulary and borrow ideas from others.  We also gave the students choice in the kind of paper they used to build their story.  Some paper had many lines and a small spot for pictures and other pages had more space for pictures and labeling.  This allows the children to show their ideas in different ways and all children can share their story.

Here are a few samples from the session we had together.

This student had a very clear idea about how he wanted to present his story.  He wanted to create a book so he asked for several pages.  He put them all together and stapled them.  His cover was detailed and had the title of his story and his name as the author.  Below is just the first page of his story and he has characters talking, with quotation marks and I really like his word choice of “replied.”

“Look at that egg goose” replied Duck.

As students finished their stories, they read their stories to a classmate.  To close the lesson we celebrated being authors and read some of the stories to the whole class.