Teach Plus PD @ LMU, Part 4!

Dear Readers,

At the Teach Plus PD I attended, we also learned about the 3 Levels of Questions. Each level called for the students to use critical thinking, analysis, & synthesis.

teach-plus-logoThese are Level 1 Questions, which are answers that can be found in the text; facts (fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing implied)

  • What were Cinderella’s slippers made out of?
  • How did Cinderella get to the ball?

Level 2 questions use analysis & inference.

  • Why does Cinderella’s stepmother care whether or not she goes to the ball?
  • Why did everything turn back the way it was except the glass slipper?
  • Why don’t the step sisters like Cinderella?

Level 3 questions or Synthesis, go beyond the text to inquire into the value, importance and application of the information presented. This level focuses on The Big Idea.

  • Does a woman’s salvation always lie with a man?
  • What does it mean to live happily ever after?
  • Does good always overcome evil?

Using these levels of questions helped me to better structure my lessons and add more rigor.


Teach Plus @ LMU PD, Part 3!

Dear Readers,

For the first session, we learned a couple of strategies, called Opportunities to Respond (OTR). They include:

  • Response Cards
  • Hand Gestures
  • Take A Stand
  • Choral Response
  • White Boards
  • Think-Pair-Share

I’ve used all of these. We also learned a strategy I hadn’t heard of, the Round Table strategy. The teacher, Drew Otto, introduced it to us by giving a handout & explaining what we were going to do. So, we watched two videos with instructions to critique the video. First, we had to look for evidence of engagement. Then, we had to look for evidence of students not being engage. Once we were finished critiquing both videos, we passed our handouts around & others responded to what we’d previously written. Then, after that we passed that person’s paper around & someone responded to that person, until we did this for 3 rounds. For the last round, we basically summed up everything. Look at the templates below to get a better understanding just in case you didn’t understand my explanation.

Here are the templates I created using Drew’s template:                  equityequalityroundtable-1   equityvs-equalityroundtable-2


Please email me if you have any questions!

Teach Plus PD @ LMU, Part 2!

Dear Readers,

I wrote earlier about attending a Teach Plus PD @ LMU. Here’s the description from the course syllabus:

Who’s doing more of the speaking in your classroom – you or your students? Speaking is a critical piece of the learning process that is often brushed aside despite its role as an important bridge between thinking and writing. Speaking opportunities allow students to practice their argumentative and analytical skills in order to reach the rigorous expectations of Common Core standards. We will explore various ways of incorporating structured speaking opportunities, in which students draw text-based evidence to form and defend their claims. Participants will engage in debates and Socratic seminars in order to create supports for bringing these activities to their classroom.

teach-plus-logoAfter reading the description, there was no way that I could pass this up. There are four sessions that last until November 5th. There’s an option to earn 1.5 units from LMU for the very reasonable price of $35.

Requirements include:

  1. attending the session for a total of 15 hours (2 Saturday mornings & 2 Wednesday evenings),
  2. reading two chapters of the book (Chapter 1 & 9 of “Building Academic Language” by Jeff Zwiers) and writing a reflection,
  3. completing a final presentation.

I’ll write more later. Bye for now!

Teach Plus PD@ LMU!

Dear Readers,

Over the weekend I attended a PD @ LMU sponsored by Teach Plus entitled, “Speak Up! Rigorous and Structured Speaking Opportunities.” I had a hard time deciding between that one and one called- “21st Century Discourse Skills: Developing Speaking, Reading, Writing and the Tech Swirl”.


Ultimately I ended up going with Speak Up! Rigorous and Structured Speaking Opportunities because I already receive sufficient training in blended learning since my school uses the blended learning format and because I am encouraging my students to speak up & I’d eventually like to hold a socratic seminar with my students.

The class was great. I learned strategies that I’m going to use for my class tomorrow. I’ll write about the strategy later. For now, if you’re interested in Teach Plus, here’s the link: www.teachplus.org.

She E-mailed Me!

Dear Readers,

emailI’m so happy! One of my students, who checked out and went to another school, emailed me. She barely talked to me when she was there the first year. However, the second year that she was with me, she would smile and talk a little. This year, she checked out at the beginning of the school year. So, imagine my surprise when she emailed me. What a good surprise!!!

A Great Work Week!

Dear Readers,

I had a great work week. It felt so good to be able to arrive at work with no one waiting on me. I had two planning days and managed to get so much work completed. I took total advantage of this downtime. First, I relaxed and chilled the first day. That relaxing and chilling took the form of a 90 minute lunch with one of my co-workers.  I have to admit that I did not get a lot completed the first day.


However, today, I posted my digital agenda early, input grades, and submitted my unit plan. I also updated my objectives and aligned them to my standards on my agenda and am thinking about saving it to a folder in addition to housing it in a Google doc. I’m really proud of myself and all that I’ve accomplished in the past couple of years. I’ll keep you posted on any other updates I make!

Here’s the link to my updated agenda (Digital Agenda)!