Many of our district’s teachers are taking the curriculum and adapting it to create innovative and fun lessons to help convey material to their students.
#TeachALessonTuesday highlights and shares these unique approaches.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 4/25/17
Each student had a role in the reader’s theatre performance of “The Great Big Enormous Turnip” taking place in Ms. Debbie Rossignol’s varying exceptionalities classroom at Chets Creek Elementary. Students played the parts of the farmer, the farmer’s wife, the farmer’s son, a dog, a mouse, two narrators, and the props person. It was clear they were having great fun acting out the story while wrapping up their lesson on “The Great Big Enormous Turnip.” It was one of the lesson components Ms. Rossignol employs each week to help the students further understand the book they are studying. Other lessons throughout the week include discussing the story’s text all while helping to address the different needs of her students.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 4/18/17
As each flashcard was shown, kindergartners in Mrs. Carley Ellison’s class at Bayview K-6 responded with the correct letter sound as they went through their Saxon Phonics lesson. Mrs. Ellison quizzed her students on long vowels, short vowels, and letter combinations like “qu” and “ck.” The use of Saxon Phonics and Spelling has helped to build the students’ literary foundation. Earlier in the day, students crafted their own books about Mrs. Ellison, using sentences to describe who Mrs. Ellison is, what she can do, and what Mrs. Ellison has. Each student read their book to Mrs. Ellison, sounding out the words and using letter sounds when they got stuck on a certain spot.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 4/11/17
“Ms. Algard! I found a bug! Will you come look at it?” exclaimed a student in Ms. Tracey Algard’s fifth-grade class at Don Brewer Elementary. But before inspecting the student’s finding, Ms. Algard asked her class, who were split among different centers, the correct scientific name for “bug.” The class racked their brains and even started to go through their journals when one student said the answer – “arthropod.” Students then returned to their investigation centers, which included dissecting a flower bud, observing and describing creatures that are native to Florida, working on assessment activities, and meeting with Ms. Algard to work on diagrams of the water cycle. Data was used to not only determine the center groups, but it also allowed students to take ownership of their learning. Some centers focused on reteaching and practicing concepts that had a low proficiency and allowed students to review the material. Other centers allowed students to select a certain standard based upon their data and interest or address the students’ proficiency. Regardless of the center, the students’ data determined what they needed to work on the most.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 4/4/17
Is a square a special rhombus or a special rectangle? This was the question posed to Mrs. Jaime Plauche’s third-grade students at Fishweir Elementary during a lesson on quadrilaterals and parallelograms. As an interactive lead into the lesson, half the students were given an index card with a shape, while the other half had a card with properties of a certain shape. The students then had to match up with each other. As students found their matching cards, they realized that some shapes shared the same attributes as others. The class worked together to correctly match the shape with the definition. The class delved further into distinguishing quadrilaterals into different categories, moving shapes into blocks labeled parallelogram, trapezoid, rectangle, square, and rhombus and discussing why a certain shape fit into the different categories. Both activities were examples of how Mrs. Plauche incorporated scaffolds and strategies for students to have a better understanding of the subject matter. By the way, the answer to the question above is yes, a square is a special rhombus and a special rectangle.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 3/28/17
During a recent lesson in Ms. Lori Levin’s eighth-grade science classroom at Mandarin Middle School, students went through the different rock cycles that explain the development of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Ms. Levin often asked students in-depth questions, requiring them to use critical thinking skills and information retained from sixth and seventh grades to formulate answers about weathering, erosion, and rock formation. Later, students took a “Rocky Journey” to further identify patterns within a rock cycle and relate them to surface and sub-surface events. “Rocky Journey” was a dice game with each die corresponding to a certain event, like tectonic plates moving or sand washing onto the shore. To illustrate their understanding of their “Rocky Journey,” students drew a comic strip telling their story through the rock cycle.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 3/14/17
As one group of Fletcher Middle School students intently focused on their independent lessons in iReady, Mrs. Regina Conklin is meeting with another group of four and reviewing math problems. On this day, the group of sixth graders are poring over equations with variables, determining distance between two points, and solving word problems. However, Mrs. Conklin’s delivery of the material is tailored to each student for better understanding and comprehension. With a focus on exceptional student education, Mrs. Conklin does a lot of collaborating and co-teaching with her colleagues to take the general education material and relate it directly with each students.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 3/7/17
During the “Centers” portion of the day in Ms. Hannah King’s fifth-grade classroom at Woodland Acres Elementary, students were separated into groups and plugged away at different math assignments. Some worked on fraction problems with Ms. King’s intern, Ms. Cohen. Others gathered on the rug with a specific game from the standards-based bins, which is related to an FSA standard. A handful quietly solved problems through iReady. And a last group surrounded Ms. King, ready to multiply decimals. Students rotate on the “Center Chart” throughout the week, allowing them to do a variety of activities. Ms. King determined the groups based upon data and personal knowledge – she had several students the previous year in her fourth-grade class – thus tailoring the lesson to the needs of the student.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 2/28/17
The assignment seemed quite simple – make a sustainable forest ecosystem that can withstand a period of 100 years. After learning about renewable and nonrenewable resources, groups of students in Ms. Nettleton’s biology class at First Coast High School crafted their own “forest,” placing brown dough (deep soil), black beads (fossil fuels), gravel (intermediate soil layer), red beads (gems), yellow beads (precious metals), coarse sand (subsoil), green dough (top soil layer), and toothpicks (trees) in an empty bowl. Then came the switch, and the groups exchanged forests with each other. Working through a series of years, groups determined how many trees to remove or plant; whether to disrupt the soil to mine fossil fuels, gems, or precious metals; and general maintenance of their area. Groups received or deducted points based upon what they did with their land. The lesson involved thorough hands-on investigations that allowed students to further develop their knowledge of renewable and nonrenewable resources, as well as learned their actions make an environmental impact on the Earth.
#TeachALessonTuesday - 2/21/17
As a middle school ESOL teacher, Alfred I. DuPont Middle School’s Ms. Rachel Duff experiences a variety of cultural backgrounds within her classroom. Among the languages native to her students are Spanish, Arabic, and Burmese. Ms. Duff employs several strategies under the Guided Language Acquisition Design – or GLAD – that brings grade-level content to her students, allowing them to better understand the English language through vocabulary and sentence structure.