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Showing posts from December, 2014

When I tried to prevent students from failing their second essay…

One thing I have learned this past semester: teaching writing is difficult. It’s easy enough to get students to write a paragraph or two on a given topic, but to get them to write a coherent five paragraph essay is like herding cats. Since the start of my teaching career in 2013, I have been getting my students to write more, but rarely did essays.

This changed when two fantastic things occurred. First, the English department at my school began Writing Across All Disciplines, a program where the English teachers helped support other departments by providing training, outline formats, a common writing rubric, etc. At about the same time I attended a training for DBQs (Document Based Questions), where students read and analyze primary or secondary sources and then write an essay that answers an overarching question. Both of these programs helped encourage me and the rest of the social science department to incorporate more writing into our curriculum.

At the start of this school year, w…

When students focused on their failure...

At the end of every semester, my department takes a week and a half to help the students review for their upcoming final exam, which covers everything from the start of the semester to the end. Last year, I had students work on their study guides for half of the period by using the Kagan strategy known as “Rally Coach. " After about half an hour we would then going over the answers.

This semester ended up being different since we only covered four units rather than the usual five, which meant I did not need an entire week and half to review the study guide. I did my typical review lesson with my students, but decided to use the last few days to try a new assignment.

My students and I have been in love with a new app through Google known as Pear Deck. Essentially, it's an application that allows you, the teacher, to create a formative assessment slideshow where students can log on and answer various question types (multiple choice, drawing, short answer, etc.) regarding a part…