Tip #298: Lifelong Learning Stimulated

This Tip looks at two new teachers who encourage and nurture learning.

A Wonderful Kindergarten Teacher

Does the teacher know how to write an effective lesson plan? Yes
A review of Ms. W’s lesson plan indicates that she knows how to write an excellent lesson. She also assigns homework for independent practice

Does the lesson result in specific, observable and measurable learning? Yes

Ms. W created a wonderful lesson that completely engaged every student. For the most part, this lesson built on their homework making a calendar. She checked for their comprehension of various characteristics of a calendar (“Who can tell me one thing about calendars?”). As a student answered (numbers, days of the week) Ms. W took the learning deeper: what numbers, how many days of the week, etc. When a child used the pointer to indicate that Monday was the first day of the week, she said, “He’s so hot!” and gently moved the pointer to Sunday. She used the lesson to bring in math concepts and spelling words. She called on volunteers to lead the group in singing Days of the Week to the Munsters theme and later the Months of the Year to the Macarena theme. At the end of the lesson, she checked their comprehension again. The lesson was well crafted and beautifully executed.

Does the teacher create and maintain an effective learning environment? Yes

Ms. W had a quiet voice and the students responded exceptionally well. She made transitions and learning fun for them. She used a number of kinesthetic activities to meet the needs of the different learning styles. The students sat quietly, volunteered enthusiastically, and clearly enjoyed being in the class. Ms. W validated their answers. She gave the students a choice of their next learning activity center (tracking their choices on the computer to ensure they went to new centers). She created an excellent rapport with the students.

A Teacher With “You are a Star” Theme

1. Does the teacher know how to write an effective lesson plan? Yes

2. Does the lesson result in specific, observable and measurable learning? Yes

Mr. B was a very effective teacher. His students were actively engaged in the reading comprehension lesson, which was well thought out, interesting, and enjoyable. He pulled out key points about passages in the book with questions. He asked the students to identify their favorite parts of the book and explain why they liked those parts. He posted this list of their favorite parts on the board. Mr. B later used their list to illustrate and check their understanding of the difference between fact and opinion.

Does the teacher create and maintain an effective learning environment? Yes

Mr. B used a colorful Hollywood theme to decorate the room, frame activities, and refer to the students. A picture of President Obama on the wall had the label: “He did it and so can you!” When students misbehaved, he got very quiet, looked at them, shook his head, and stayed very calm. On occasion, he referred to consequences: “This team will not have a fabulous Friday if this keeps up” or “If you don’t behave, you will walk around the playground for recess, and I know you don’t want to do that.” In other words, he was caring but firm. It was clear that he respected and liked the students and the feeling was reciprocated. It was a pleasure to watch him interact with the students.

Both teachers clearly believe in learning, hold their students to a high standard, and make learning successful and very appealing. They are launching their students on a satisfying journey of lifelong learning.

Next week’s Tip will look at the first of two examples of teachers who do not understand or care about how students learn or what they need to be successful.

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