After I retired from speaking at events in 2019, I decided to start making an “online video event thingy” each October. Here’s what I came up with in 2021.
This year, readers sent in lessons and I gave those lessons a makeover!, showing how I’d try to make those lessons more interesting, especially for our highest ability students.
🎙 The Five Minute Keynote
It’s the keynote. And it’s under five minutes! HUZZAH! Get to know the Three Big Ideas that we’ll be using throughout the breakout sessions:
- Focus On The Thinking
- Ask “Then What?”
- Plan A Sequence
🎨 Why Not “Create”?
💬 Moving Beyond “Explain”
As a new teacher, I thought that the phrase “explain why…” was an example of high-level thinking. Now I realize that it’s often near the bottom of Bloom’s. Here’s how to move past just explaining strengths and weaknesses to get students really thinking.
🪜 Start High, Scaffold Down
Here’s how I’d build out steps with lower-level thinking in order to support these higher-level tasks in math.
📚 Context Clues & Classics
How adding an authentically interesting classic can completely change an otherwise dull lesson about context clues.
🦇 A Story’s Problems & Solutions
Once students can identify the problem and solution in a story, let’s not stop there! We’ll find other stories with the same problem, pick which one has the most unique solution, give out a couple of other awards, and then, heck, maybe even write our own.
¼ Comparing Fractions
Once students can pick a strategy for comparing fractions, what can they do next? What if we picked the worst strategy? What if we tweaked the fractions to fit a particular strategy?
🗼 Famous Structures
If we’re going to study famous structures, let’s not just focus on a single one. We’ll gather as many famous structures we can, group them up however we want, pick the most interesting, and then create an even better structure.
🔲 Patterns in Quadrilaterals
Just because a question includes a prompt of Depth and Complexity doesn’t mean that we’re actually going deep. So, rather than just identifying patterns within quadrilaterals, let’s put each one to a unique use.
🎲 Vocabulary Dice Roll
Rolling a dice to pick a vocabulary task might add “engagement,” but it doesn’t get students thinking any deeper. Let’s build a sequence of tasks rather than six low-level tasks.
🗽 Wax Museum
When we start with a cute product, it can seriously restrict the thinking we’re offering to our students. Rather than starting with “let’s put on a wax museum,” we’ll plan a sequence of increasingly high-level tasks to investigate a person from history. Then, we’ll see what products emerge that will do justice to our students’ thinking.
Please share away. If you need specific links, all of the videos are in Byrdseed.TV.
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