Uncategorized

Fast: Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday and I am jumping back into my favorite link-up, Five Minute Friday.

The end of this school year is coming up fast!

With only 20 days left in the classroom with these students, I am in full wrap-up mode. Next week, I am finishing up my final unit and moving toward assessments and final projects to round out the year.

As fast as things seems to be moving right now, I cannot say the entire school year has been this way. In fact, this has been the LONGEST school year of my career. We have done our best as a staff to transition back into our pre-Covid classroom management and curriculum, but Covid isn’t totally gone. And the scars they’ve left on the education system and our students has made it impossible to return to “business as usual.” This entire school year has been a fight to regain a semblence of normalcy in world that is still trying to define what normal looks like post-Covid. All of us in education have struggled with the balancing act of moving forward when things are still so affected by these past two years.

So as I think about how fast the end is coming I am both sad and excited. I am sad because I know that my year with these students was far from a usual experience. There were favorite lessons I had to scrap and assignments that had to be replaced to fit into this new protocol. I’ve created unique memories with this class, but I am still saddened by the fact that their 180 days in my classroom was unlike any from previous years. I am excited because we all need the rest that awaits us after May 27. Staff and students alike have earned this summer break–and it’s coming FAST!

The Ameri Brit Mom

dressing and educating · Uncategorized

Dressing and Educating: Days 140-143

This week was our state test week. I will spare you all the test anxieties and dramas and skip right to the goods–the fashion.

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Day 140: March 21, 2017

I started the short week with my black tunic from The Limited and OS leggings from Lula Roe.

 

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Day 141: March 22, 2017

I added Spring color with coral jeggings and paired it with my Ilaria Crochet Trim Tunic  Stitch Fix #8.

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Day 142: March 23, 2017

I dressed comfortably today for four hours of proctoring. I wore a navy and white striped top and grey leggings with boots.

 

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Day 143: March 24, 2017

The last day before Spring Break and the final day of proctoring! I wore a striped top from Old Navy and black OS leggings from Lula Roe.

Which look was your favorite?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

*This post contains affiliate links and I may receive compensation as a result.

dressing and educating · Fashion · Uncategorized

Dressing and Educating: Days 129-133

This week my school gave our post-assessments. Each day we were on a modified testing schedule. The focus of the week for me was giving and grading post assessments so instruction was minimal. Here’s a look at my outfits this week:

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Day 129: March 6, 2017- Carly and One Size Leggings from Lula Roe

 

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Day 130:  March 7, 2017- Shan Color Block Hem Knit Top by Olive & Oak from Stitch Fix #11 and olive jeggings.

 

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Day 131: March 8, 2017- Carlito Dolman Knit Top by Paper Moon from Stitch Fix #4 and black slacks.

 

Day 132: March 9, 2017-I was so busy wrapping up grades I completely forgot to take a picture today.

 

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Day 133: March 10, 2017- White tank from Atmosphere (Primark) and a cardigan from Maurices.

 

Which look was your favorite this week?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

dressing and educating · Fashion · Uncategorized

Dressing and Educating: Days 124-128

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Day 124: February 27, 2017

A new week brought new content to my English class. We are headed for Romeo and Juliet, but started with an introduction to analyzing poetry to start. We spent today defining terms and looking at examples of traditional and organic poetry. In Honors World History,we discussed the Paris Peace Conference and the end of World War I.

I wore a dress from Wet Seal, leggings from Lula Roe, and a black cardigan.

 

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Day 125: February 28, 2017

The weather was beautiful today in Ohio. It’s been the strangest winter as it has only snowed a couple of times. In English we studied uses of the semicolon and I also handed out the study guide for next week’s post-assessment. In Honors World History we were supposed to go over a student example of a Document Based Question in preparation for the World War I quiz. There was a lockdown at my school all afternoon so that didn’t happen in my afternoon classes. I didn’t even have one class at all and the other afternoon class was cut short.

I wore a Classic T by Lula Roe, leggings and my-Dinah Open Front Cardigan by Staccato from Stitch Fix # 3.

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Day 126: March 1, 2016

There were terrible storms last night that spread into the morning hours. My drive to work involved bright flashes of lightning and downpours. In English we reviewed oxymorons and analyzed poetry in small groups. In Honors World History we played review BINGO to prepare for the World War I Quiz.

I wore my  Queensland Dolman Jersey Top by 41Hawthorn from Stitch Fix #2, black pants from The Limited, and rain boots by Sperry.

 

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Day 127: March 2, 2017

I only taught during the morning today. I took a half day so that I could join my husband at one of his basketball shows in northern Ohio. In English we read and analyzed The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. In Honors World History the students took their World War I Quiz while a substitute teacher covered my class.

I wore navy slacks, a peasant top from Target and a navy vest from Old Navy.

 

Day 128: March 3, 2017

With post-assessments next week I spent the entire day prepping my students for those by providing study guides and test-prep questions. (I didn’t get a photo of myself in jeans and spirit-wear today.)

 

Which look was your favorite this week?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fashion · stitch fix · Uncategorized

Dressing and Educating: Day 100!!

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For the past 100 days of my school year I have shared with you outfit ideas for the classroom within a teacher’s budget. In celebration of 100 days down I want to revisit my top 5 outfits so far this year.

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5- Gusta Two Pocket Top by Skies are Blue (Stitch Fix #8)

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4- Elisa Dress by Collective Concepts (Stitch Fix #9)

 

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3-Jahana Cargo Vest by Market & Spruce (Stitch Fix #7)

 

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2- Ilaria Crochet Trim Tunic by Alice Blue (Stitch Fix #8)

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1-Pedrine Keyhole Back Shirt by Renee C (Stitch Fix #6) and Red Toms (Stitch Fix #5)

 

Each of these five outfits was put together with the help of my personal stylists at Stitch Fix.  I started my journey as a Stitch Fix Influencer this fall and I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to spread love for their clothes and company with all of you who read my blog and stop by from time to time. Stitch Fix has updated my wardrobe and helped me to develop my personal style. Because of Stitch Fix, I am both comfortable and professional as I teach my high school English and Honors World History classes.

I’m looking forward to 80 more days of outfit inspiration with the help of Stitch Fix.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

**This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated for this post.

 

Fashion · Uncategorized

Dressing and Educating: Days 91-95

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Day 91: January 9, 2017

My traditional classroom became an online one today as students used Google Classroom to complete and submit assignments. One goal I had for myself this year was to utilize and establish my Google Classroom. Whenever possible I am trading in paper assignments for ones that can be turned in electronically. I also use other Google Apps for quizzes and surveys. I cannot wait for the day where my school has a 1:1 ratio of devices to students. Until then, I implement these practices as often as I can being aware of the fact that other teachers may need access to this technology.

In English, students are currently collaborating on a Google Doc to write an essay. As a group they are turning in one paper for which each student is given a responsibility. We are practicing skills in electronic collaboration, but also in our writing and editing as well.

In Honors World History my students are using a web quest format to research Africa before and after it was imperialized the Europeans.

It was a good Monday! I wore a dress from Stitch Fix #9, a cardigan, and jeggings.

 

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Day 92: January 10, 2017

Today was another two hour delay. I woke up to a sheet of ice.

My classes were still productive as we moved forward on writing projects in English and a study of African imperialism in Honors World History. I spent much of the day proofreading student writing in Google and providing feedback for them.

I also met today with the principal and curriculum director to discuss results from a common quarterly assessment given in English 9. Everything was positive and the Ohio AIR tests will be here before we know it.

Today I wore olive jeggings and a new sweater from Stitch Fix #10.

 

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Day 93: January 11, 2017

Today was the very first Snow Day of the school year. It’s peculiar because it didn’t end up actually snowing. And the temperature reached 50 degrees by mid-day. Overnight a light drizzle fell and low morning temperatures caused a temporary freeze on the roads. It was an icy morning, but by the middle of the day it was beautiful. This isn’t quite how I pictured our first weather cancellation, but it was nice.

I stayed in all day and worked on writing, reading, and catching up on my Netflix binge.

I’m wearing my 41Hawthorne Queensland Dolman Jersey Top from my Stitch Fix #2. It’s so comfortable and stretchy. It’s one of my top picks from the service.

 

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Day 94: January 12, 2017

My day started off decently, but just kept getting better.

In the morning my classes were putting their final touches on the essays we have been crafting for over a week. With the deadline this evening groups scrambled to make up for lost time yesterday. I conferenced with different groups. In most cases I met with groups face-to-face, but at times I combed through their Google Docs and held a virtual conference across the room using the chat feature within the program. This is a highly effective tool that helps me to be an even more efficient teacher.

In Honors World History my students were quizzed over fifteen African countries. It was a geography quiz that required students to know geography, locations, and capitals. As one of my hardest map tests all year I was really pleased with student scores.

I had a really stellar meeting with my principal and history department today. I feel so blessed to be part of such a kick-butt team of teachers. Together we work really well and we bring fresh ideas to the world of Social Studies. Go team!

Today I wore my Katniss Crochet Yoke Top from my Stitch Fix #7. I paired the top with dark slacks and a sweater.

 

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Day 95: January 13, 2016

I showed up today with all my energy! I was ready to get Friday finished so that I could move into the three-day weekend. I was feeling super positive after my fantastic Thursday and I stayed that way through the whole day.

In English my students were reading. We did some discussion together as a class, but a majority of the class period was spent making progress in Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis.

In Honors World History I taught a little bit on imperialism of Muslim nations in the Ottoman Empire. I’m really excited because the introduction to World War I is on the horizon. In one more week I should be there and from that point forward my course is spent studying wars.

Today I wore my Gusta Two Pocket Top from my Stitch Fix #8. I paired that with a black tee from Primark in England.

This week I wore something from Stitch Fix each day. I reminisced all week about some of my favorite pieces and brought new accessories to previous looks. As a member of the Stitch Fix Influencer team I do receive compensation from affiliate links and sales (which are found on this page.)

As one of my resolutions this year I have set goals of raising awareness about the Stitch Fix company. I know there are skeptics out there who wonder if this five-item box is really worth it. I would love to chat with you if you are unsure of the products and services that they offer. You can also expect to see more Stitch Fix information in the future on this blog.

Which Stitch Fix style was your favorite this week?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Fashion · Uncategorized

Dressing and Educating: Days 79-83

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Day 79: December 12, 2016

I would be lying if I said I was happy to wake up early and go to school this morning. For over a week the weather men had been predicting a winter storm for Sunday night. I pulled out all the old wives’ tales and superstitions hoping for that first snow day. I woke up to a few rain puddles and a damp yard. No snow in sight.

In History today my students presented their Industrial Revolution projects. This was a research based project where students selected their mode of communication. Some wrote novels, some made posters, and others created Google Slides presentations. Here is an artistic interpretation of life in the tenements and work in the factories.

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I wore a cowl neck sling dress, black Lula Roe leggings, and Sperry boots this Monday morning.

 

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Day 80: December 13, 2016

Today marked the beginning of snow season. It was the first snow storm this winter in Ohio. I arrived at school just before 7am to clear roads, but the snow started a few hours later and fell relentlessly through school hours and wasn’t expected to cease until 9pm.

As if the snow levels weren’t enough of a distraction the annual surprise lockdown took place today. Every year law enforcement officers from the county show up unannounced and conduct a thorough search of the campus. During this search they look for drugs and narcotics. Classrooms are held under a level 1 lockdown during this event which means students are not permitted out of the classroom and so I was held up with the same group of students for almost two hours.

I was wearing a top from Lula Roe, navy slacks from Old Navy and my Sperry boots which have become my best friend this winter.

 

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Day 81: December 14, 2016

As a result of the snowfall last night we had a 2 hour delay at my school today.

Most classes were shortened and the kids were all rambunctious as they were armed with some extra sleep. It was nice to get the day started under sunlight, but I was really pulling for a snow day.

In my short classes we worked on reading and finishing up homework.

Today I wore olive jeggings, a black tunic sweater from The Limited, a scarf from Charming Charlies, and my Sperry boots.

 

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Day 82: December 15, 2016

For the second day in a row we experienced a two hour delay at my school. Wind chills were below zero and so my district decided to give us all a little extra time to make it in to school. (Or to snuggle in the warmth of our beds as I did.)

On delay days, all but one of my classes is less than 25 minutes long. I had enough time to read one chapter of Not a Drop to Drink with my English classes and to go over a homework assignment with my Honors History class.

I wore my skinny black pants from the Limited, a polka dot blouse from The Limited, and a maroon sweater from Maurices.

 

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Day 83: December 16, 2016

We were back on a regular bell schedule despite the frigid, single-digit temperatures. In English, we finished up the seventh chapter of the book we are reading and I had each small group write six review questions for next week’s test. I will use the questions in a Review Basketball game Monday.

In History the students are working on rap battles between Karl Marx and Adam Smith. many of them recorded their raps today. I’m excited to hear the finished products on Monday!

Today I wore jeggings, a pinstriped top from Lula Roe and an oversized brown sweater from Kohls.

This week was wet and cold and I did my best to dress to keep myself warm in the classroom. Which of the looks was your favorite?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fashion · Uncategorized

Dressing and Educating: Days 74-78

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Day 74: December 5, 2016

Every quarter my school district expects the content areas to give a common assessment. This quarter in English our focus has been argument writing and so we decided to hone in on the skills needed to write a thesis statement and focus our assessment on that.

Today we gave a pre-assessment. This is a lesson that is rather famous in the circle of high school English teachers. I first heard about it from Kelly Gallagher in one of his books I did a study on last fall. The lesson is called Slip or Trip?

Students are given a crime scene and minimal information. Based on the evidence they gather they write a claim or thesis statement which defines their beliefs about the crime. It’s a really fun way to introduce the purpose and structure of writing a thesis statement. It’s one of my favorite things to do every year.

Today I wore my brand new Lula Roe Carly dress. I paired it with black OS leggings from Lula Roe, a black sweater, and boots.

 

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Day 75: December 6, 2016

In history this week I’m trying to drive home the point of using primary sources in research. Students are currently working on an independent project about the Industrial Revolution. They are using time outside of class to work on these projects as we move forward in the curriculum during class time. Today we took a look at four primary sources about child labor and machines replacing manual labor during the Industrial Revolution. The students took the sources home and for homework answered several Document Based Questions.

Today I wore a printed top from Stitch Fix 4, red jeggings, and because it was very wet and rainy outside I wore my Sperry rainboots.

 

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Day 76: December 7, 2016

In English today we made progress in the novel, Not a Drop to Drink. We focused on the inciting conflict of the novel where people from a nearby town decide to attack the main character and her mother on their homestead. In this scene the students analyzed characterization and plot structure. They also read a non-fiction text about water shortage in our world today. Many of the students were completely unaware of the fact that water shortage isn’t confined to a third world country problem. They were shocked to learn that California and many other western states are faced with this crisis as well.

Today I wore a white sweater than my sister bought me last Christmas, coral jeggings and booties.

 

Day 77: December 8, 2016

The nasty bug that seems to be popping up everywhere made itself a guest in my household today. It could be the fact that I’ve been going a mile a minute preparing for the end of the semester or maybe my new diet of paleo/gluten free made me susceptible, but I had to turn my classroom over to a substitute today. Sorry there are no cute pictures to share of myself lazing around binge watching Gilmore Girls.

 

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Day 78: December 9, 2016

Well-rested and recharged I hopped out of bed ready to conquer the world today.

I threw on my brand new spirit wear that I bought from the basketball team, pulled on my boots, and got myself to school extra early.

In history today we shared some of the Industrial Revolution projects which students worked on independently throughout the course of the week. I was impressed by narratives, presentations, and posters that the students shared as ways of displaying the research they conducted.

This was a fast pace, highly effective week despite my mid-week sick day.

Which outfit was your favorite?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fashion · Uncategorized

Dressing and Educating: Days 69-73

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Day 69: November 28, 2016

Monday after a long Thanksgiving break is rough. Not only was I physically exhausted long before usual, but today was also a tragic day for my city. At just after 9:30am a man of Somali descent crashed his vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians on the campus of Ohio State University. He emerged from his vehicle armed with a knife and began to stab people around him. Luckily, within minutes a security guard responded and neutralized the suspect quickly.

Although the fatality numbers were limited to the suspect it was still a tragic day as many students and faculty members of the nearby college were overcome with fear as they went to work and/or school. As a city the reality of threats and radical behavior have become real and security has been increased as a result. It was a strange day and I spent much of my off-periods tuned in to local news and browsing social media to ensure that my friends were all safe. It was such a strange and emotional day.

I was wearing a pair of LulaRoe OS leggings, a navy dress, beige cardigan and boots.

 

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Day 70: November 29, 2016

I came in ready to start some new content in my classes today. In English, I introduced the Young Adult novel that my classes will be reading for the next several weeks. Not a Drop to Drink was written by Mindy McGinnis and last school year she visited with our students who had just finished reading her book. Every year the students leave my introduction lesson excited for this post-apocalyptic novel.

In Honors World History, I introduced the Industrial Revolution unit with a discussion of primary sources about the Agricultural Revolution in England. We discussed the Enclosure Movement and how it led to urbanization and the dawn of the industrial age.

I was wearing a silver sweater from Kohls, black pants from The Limited and black TOMS.

 

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Day 71: November 30, 2016

This morning the Guidance Department at my school took my English classes to the computer lab to complete a survey about their needs and goals. As a result, I had some unplanned free periods to catch up on grading, planning, and data crunching. I was beyond grateful for this time as I was feeling a little overwhelmed about everything I needed to do outside of the regular activities of the classroom. As a teacher these types of days are golden!

In History, we spent more time investigating sources about the Enclosure Movement. Students were asked to decide if it was a positive or negative era in British History using evidence from the provided sources. We held an informal Socratic seminar where each student had the opportunity to voice their opinion and respond to the others in the class.

I was wearing navy slacks from Old Navy, a mint green scarf, matching camisole, a silver sweater and my favorite Sperrys.

 

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Day 72: December 1, 2016

I officially ended my tutoring group for Air Make up testing today. For the past month I’ve been staying several days a week for an extra hour and a half to tutor students who failed last year’s state tests. It’s been a very positive experience and has helped me as a teacher as I’ve taken the opportunity to examine the tests at a greater length.

In English today we continued reading Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. We discussed the mood in the beginning of the story. In Honors World History, students were assigned reading last night and so we addressed the reading through questions and class discussion.

Today I wore a new sweater/tunic from The Limited, a blanket scarf, khakis and black boots.

 

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Day 73: December 2, 2016

TGIF!

In English, my students were introduced to a new writing assignment. Once a quarter I assign them a writing prompt on Vantage, an online writing tool that my school has purchased for the past three years. Students are able to submit writing on this site and receive feedback and space to improve that writing. This is a valuable tool when utilized alongside class material and instruction. I always set a deadline for the writing to be finished and take the highest score for each student as they are able to submit their writing numerous times during the allotted window. This time around they are writing an argument and were given three prompts to choose from.

In Honors World History, we started our Friday as we usually do by watching CNN Student News and discussing worldwide news stories. Then, we jumped into our curriculum and reviewed the content from the week. I also introduced a new project in that class. Students were given three options for an Industrial Revolution project. They could write a story, make a poster, or create a presentation.

Today I wore a printed tank from Stitch Fix #6 , a cardigan from Stitch Fix #3, jeans from Stitch Fix #8 , and ankle boots.

Which outfit was your favorite this week?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

Teaching

Teaching: Are We Releasing Too Soon?

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“Why are these scores so low? I showed them how to do this!”

Many of us have had reflective conversations with ourselves or colleagues drenched in comments similar to the one above. It’s frustrating to go through a process step-by-step with students only to turn them loose and receive a less than desirable assignment in return.

We reason that there must be something wrong with “this class” or we justify these behaviors saying that, “this group must be lazy.” In reality, it may not be a lack of effort on the students’ end, but rather the lethargy may actually stem from the teacher’s planning.

Gone are the days where the role of the teacher was to spew information while students collected it in tidy notebooks. With the onslaught of technology, our students have been transformed from information collectors in to information seekers. Our world has shaped learning to be far more productive in a problem solving scenario than in a catch-and-release system.

I recently attended a Vertical Alignment session with my district Curriculum Director where we looked at best practices throughout our English classrooms in the district. Being a high school teacher confined to fifty minute periods has produced many obstacles in creating a balance between Reading, Writing, and Language instruction. In a perfect world, I would tackle all three areas of ELA in a single class period, but that’s just not the reality of my classroom. I feel stifled by time restraints and frustrated when I cannot see my students making the progress I anticipate to see. Based on my scores from last year’s standardized tests I have added to my curriculum, but fitting everything in before March seems an impossibility.

As a teacher passionate about my content, I’ve been wounded by my student performance these last few years. Like anyone would, I have started to blame the group of students or blame their previous teachers, but the truth is if I’m trying to point blame I should look no further than my own lesson plans.

I read the article Releasing Responsibility by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey at the PD this week. What stuck out to me the most was the idea of Gradual Release of Responsibility.

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(Photo: ASCD)

Thinking back to my college days in my cluttered dorm room I can remembering cracking open my book of Educational Psychology and studying Vygotsky’s theories of cognitive development. It is something that is so ingrained in my brain that I’ve actually forgotten all about it. I know that asking a student to work independently on something before they are ready is a recipe for disaster. I know that in order for students to work alone they must receive a focused lesson, guided instruction, and collaboration first, but when I think back to my frustrations with their performance I feel convicted because somewhere along the line I’ve skipped some steps.

As teachers we feel pressure from all directions, but nothing is worse than the pressure of time. Because of time constraints, I’ve recognized that sometimes I revert back to the old schoolhouse method of standing in front of the class, giving them notes, and then expecting them to complete an assignment or homework without any further practice. That isn’t setting them up for success.

The way to beat this slump is to narrow the content of your class. Find the standards that are pivotal for your course and focus on those and the skills necessary for mastery of those standards. When you have five things you are committed to accomplishing instead of forty you feel less pressure to move quickly allowing for a timeline that eases into the release of responsibility.

Designing lessons and units should be centered around these principles and not the curriculum maps or units of study prescribed by a textbook. (In fact, you may not even need that old textbook at all.)

At the high school level what does a lesson look like from each of these stages of the Gradual Release of Responsibility? In a focused lesson, a teacher may introduce new terms, show a video, distribute a notes page with ideas, read a story, or re-inact the setting or plot of the content being read. Guided instruction involves letting the students see your thinking processes. This means vulnerability in many cases, but students will learn most during this phase if you admit your weaknesses and provide modeling of your use of the skill they are working toward. Collaboration is giving your students a scenario or problem to work through with peers to help them gain experience and confidence in the focus area. Activities for small groups should always be things that they could not do independently. Nothing is more frustrating than to be placed in a group to do something you could have done more efficiently on your own. Design a little stretch or challenge into your collaborative assignments.

Finally, after all three stages have been mastered, then you may begin the independent stage of the instruction. This phase is absolutely necessary and should never be skipped, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t the second stage. Lesson delivery isn’t followed by independent work.

If you are anything like me you may just need a reminder that dates, timelines, and tests shouldn’t dictate your lesson plans. Learning is the goal and should be the instrument to measure your progression through content. At the high school level the middle stages of the model above are often left behind an forgotten. We complain that our students aren’t motivated and they don’t enjoy school, but designing lessons that challenge them in all stages of learning will reignite their passion for your content and their performance on various forms of assessments.

The Ameri Brit Mom