All the way through elementary and middle school, I had weekly spelling tests. I still remember the pretests that came home on Monday afternoons on yellow paper, which my mom placed in a prominent place on the kitchen counter. Every day, she’d quiz my younger sister and me on our spelling words.
Four Best Practices for a Writing Workshop
In the Pathways 2.0 program, the Writing Workshop process is divided into four components: mini-lesson, independent writing time, conferencing, and sharing. Generally, the mini-lesson and conferencing stages should each take a quarter of the time, and independent writing should take half of the time. Here are four important things to remember, one for each stage of the process.
During the mini-lesson: practice active modeling
Five Top Tips for Safety in the Science Classroom
Inquiry science naturally lends itself to experiments and hands-on activities, which are excellent ways to engage your students and fire their natural curiosity. However, teachers must ensure that curiosity is the only thing being ignited. From chemicals to sharps to heat, the science lab can be a dangerous place if handled improperly. Students and teachers share the responsibility of maintaining a safe environment.
Life in a Multigrade Classroom: A Three-Part Series (Part 3: What Should I Know?)
Our past two blogs in this three-part “Life in a Multigrade Classroom” series have discussed the logistics and the benefits of a multigrade environment. Today, our final post provides words of wisdom from our multigrade educators Luna and Whiting, as well as resources for administrators, teachers, and parents.
“Flexibility is a non-negotiable commodity”
Life in a Multigrade Classroom: A Three-Part Series (Part 2: Why Should I Do It?)
In our three-part blog series about multigrade classrooms, we’ve looked at the logistics of how multigrade classrooms work. Today, we dive into four major benefits of the multigrade model.
In a multigrade setting, students are required to complete independent work without constant teacher prodding, meaning that multigrade classrooms encourage self-directed learning.
Life in a Multigrade Classroom: A Three-Part Series (Part 1: What Does It Look Like?)
For those of us who spent our formative years in traditional, single-grade K–12 classrooms, the idea of a multigrade classroom may seem like a foreign concept.
Multiple grades? In the same room? How could that work?
Very well, as a matter of fact. Although they’re uncommon in U.S. school districts, multigrade classrooms have many academic, social, and spiritual benefits for students.
How Pathways 2.0 Puts Assessment Quality to the Test
Although assessments might not be the most thrilling part of education, when implemented intentionally, they have great value for student learning. According to educator Carol Campbell, “ongoing, visible, lifelong learning is the goal” of educational assessment, and assessments can be used before, during, and after a lesson to support and verify student learning.
“Switching Up the Consistency” with Centers
The Kindergarten Stepping Stones curriculum is modeled on the belief that kindergarten children need “frequent changes of activities” but also “fairly predictable routines” and “occasional surprises.” Kindergarten teacher Melissa shares the same sentiment, noting that “[w]hile it’s important to keep things consistent, it’s important to switch up that consistency.”
How the ByDesign Curriculum Aligns with a 5-Step Instructional Model
At many Adventist schools science teachers focus on inquiry-based learning, lessons are developed around a customized 5-step instructional model. This model divides the learning process into five steps: engage, discover, explain, extend, and assess/reflect.
Four Innovative Ways to Make Your Classroom a Print-Rich Environment
In the Broadway musical My Fair Lady, protagonist Eliza Doolittle exclaims: “Words, words, words—all I get is words! I get words all day!” Her comment describes the ideal atmosphere for an elementary school child: a print-rich environment. In such an environment, children interact with many forms of print in meaningful ways and are encouraged to read and write about what is important to them.
In Favor of Messy Classrooms
In the award-winning novel Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles, ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger is counseled by her great uncle Edisto to “Open your arms to life! Let it strut into your heart in all its messy glory!” The ever-practical Comfort responds, “I don’t like messes. I like my plans.”
Why the “Why?” Question Is a Good Thing for Student Learning
This summer, parents with kids at home probably rediscovered the number of times per day their children can ask a variation of “why?” Most parents begin answering with the best intentions, but after the five hundredth “why,” even the most patient parent can perhaps be excused for exclaiming, “Because I said so!”
Five Tips for Integrating Social-Emotional Learning in Your Classroom
School can be an environment of “every person for him- or herself,” and not just on the elementary school playground. According to Vicki Zakrzewski of UC Berkeley, “testing practices, punitive teacher evaluations, and university admissions processes fuel our competitive self-interests.” In the world of scholarships and class ranks, the educational system can seem to steer kids into a “them-or-me” mind-set: for me to excel, they have to fail.
The Possibilities of a Customized Curriculum
As we return to the classroom, with the new school year comes the chance to implement a new curriculum. This year, why not take a leap and try a customized curriculum? A customized curriculum puts you in control of your students’ success. You are the one who knows your organization’s unique core beliefs best. Our team works with you and listens to your needs in order to build your goal-oriented, customized curriculum.
Back OUT of School: Start Your Year with a Fantastic Field Trip
In elementary school, the end of each school year was marked by a big all-grade field trip to which the entire grade looked forward all year. Whether we visited the zoo in kindergarten, a nearby historical village in second grade, or a ropes course in fifth grade, it seemed that the end of the school year was prime time for out-of-classroom excursions.
But what about flipping the script and hosting a field trip as the school year begins?
Using Technology to Bridge the Home–School Gap
It’s no secret that parental engagement in student learning is a huge predictor of student success. Not only does an open line of communication help parents understand what their child is learning, but it also gives teachers access to information they need to better serve the child in question.
Read-Aloud, Shared Reading, and Shared Read-Aloud: A Crash Course
The three terms in the title of this blog post are all popular (and effective) strategies for classroom reading. They are also so similar, and so frequently confused, that you may not be entirely clear what the difference between them is. What are read-alouds, shared reading, and shared read-alouds?
Read-aloud versus shared reading
We’ll start with the first two concepts, which are the basis of the third: read-aloud and shared reading.
Beyond the Lab Report: Writing in Science Class
In a 2012 episode of popular television show MythBusters, host Adam Savage (quoting his collaborator Alex Jason) observed that “the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.” The quote went viral, and despite its humorous nature, it touches on a valuable educational concept: the importance of scientific writing.
Why is scientific writing important?
Take a Vacation with Virtual Reality in the Classroom
In the summer, many families pack their bags and hit the road, bound for some exotic site or tropical paradise. That wanderlust is something that teachers understand, although they know it by a slightly different name: field trips.
Full STEAM Ahead: How STEM Education Is Expanding
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is crucial for our students’ success. STEM careers encompass a broad range of jobs in the physical, earth, and life sciences as well as computer science, mathematics, engineering, and health care. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in these disciplines will grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022 (Stem 101: Intro to Tomorrow's Jobs, 2014).
Essential Questions Are Essential for Student Success
Here’s a question for you: Do you use essential questions in your classroom?
Here’s an essential question for you: Why should you use essential questions in your classroom?
Cultivating Student Engagement and Wellness with Gardening
Today, June 6, is National Gardening Exercise Day, a perfect day to remember the benefits that gardens offer students. From physical exercise to fresh produce, gardens promote a healthy lifestyle— and, according to Dan Wyrick, K-8 Elementary Program Consultant and Director of Nature by Design, gardening provides “an opportunity to be outside and interact with nature.”
Three Reasons Why Your Students Don’t Read Over the Summer . . . and How to Fix It
I was blessed to grow up in a house with shelves of books and weekly visits to the public library. For me, a lover of books, “summer reading” was a way of life rather than a chore. For many kids, however, the situation is different, and the “summer slide” is proof of the frequent lack of summer reading among students. There are many reasons why students don’t read over the summer.
Project-Based Learning as a Cure for Spring (and Summer) Fever
The weather is nice. The class is antsy. The countdown has begun. The students are in summer mode.
Meanwhile, as the teacher, you’re panicking slightly at all the content left to cover. With mountains of subject matter still untouched, it might seem like there’s no alternative but lectures and worksheets. Although that may be a good way to “fit it in,” it’s also a good way to lose your students’ remaining focus.
STEM-ing Girls’ Interest in Engineering and Computer Science
With graduation season in full swing, students of all ages are pondering their futures, making plans of study, and imagining dream jobs. But what jobs are they imagining—especially young female students? We’ve been told girls are less likely than boys to pursue degrees and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects.
Is this true? Well, partially.
Virtual Reality in the Classroom...An Affordable Solution
As any parent or teacher can attest to, today’s students are members of the “digital generation” and spend much of their time involved in new forms of media enabled by technology, from social media sites to iPad games and mobile phone apps. Virtual reality (VR) technology presents exciting opportunities for teachers to capitalize on students’ interest in all things digital through the use of educational VR applications in the classroom.
Collaborative Learning: One Common Goal
Well-structured collaborative learning tasks are an effective way to increase student learning and motivation while establishing a classroom environment that encourages cooperation and values diversity.
The Importance of Small Groups
The Pathways 2.0 curriculum emphasizes independent student learning.
10 Ways to Improve Your Students’ Reading Comprehension with Pathways 2.0
“The more you read, the more things that you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” —Dr. Seuss
How can you ensure that your students are getting the maximum benefits from a Writing Workshop?
Pathways 2.0: Journey to Excellence through Literacy!
Provides instruction in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This biblically based curriculum built on the Adventist worldview and the belief that Christ is the model teacher. Pathways 2.0 recognizes the responsibility of nurturing excellence and service to others. The lessons found in each unit provide rigorous academic quality aligned with standards of proficiency in literacy.
Pathways 2.0 Fostering the Love of Literacy Through the Lens of the Bible
The possibilities for the use of faith-based reading in the classroom are nearly limitless!
Pathways 2.0 The Benefits of Shared Read-Aloud In Your Classroom
How can you foster the enjoyment of reading?
Shared read-aloud is a major component of the Pathways 2.0* program and research has shown that it is an effective strategy for increasing early literacy skills. Before describing the benefits of shared read-alouds, it’s important to clarify some terms:
Virtual Reality a Valuable Resource that Complements By Design Science
Innovation of new technologies is constantly moving forward. In the classroom, teachers have seen the shift from the use of videocassettes and DVDs to the use of online materials, such as YouTube videos, to bring concepts alive and heighten student interest. Now, the next innovation is here: VR—virtual reality. This technology takes the audiovisual experience to a whole new level.
What Is Project-Based Learning? How Can I Incorporate PBL Into My Classroom?
What is project-based learning (PBL)? How can I incorporate PBL into my classroom? To answer the first question simply, PBL is the act of learning through identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. Students show what they learn as they move through the project, not just at the end.
Where Will STEM Education Be in Five Years?
Did you drive or ride in a car today? Are you using a computer or tablet to read this blog? Have you eaten a piece of fruit today? Have you visited a doctor or dentist recently?
10 Reasons To Like “By Design”—The Customized-Inquiry Based Curriculum
“Teacher, Teacher, What made that happen?”
Students as Teachers: Together Always Learning and Each Always Striving to Do Better
At some point in their lives, most students want to become a teacher because it is one of the first career choices they are exposed to. Some students even view teaching as an easy job. Have you ever considered letting your students test out teaching as a career choice? This could be done at any grade level, with younger students likely needing a bit more guidance than your middle or high school students.
Inquiry Learning and Questioning Strategies: Letting Students Discover the Answers
In my last blog I talked about my sister and brother attempting to keep milkshakes cool by putting them in a hot closet and having a fan blow on them.
Children Are Born Scientists...Teaching With Active Inquiry Is One Way To Help Students Learn!
I often tell my students that children are born scientists. They come into the world wanting to find out how things work. Then, over the years, the educational system takes this natural curiosity away and replaces it with a curriculum that tells students what educational officials think the students should know. The result is that students quit seeing science as something that is useful and see it as just another subject in school to get a good grade in.
Four Keys To Assessment Quality
According to Stiggins and Chappuis (2012), there are four keys to assessment quality: clear purpose, clear targets, sound design, and effective communication.
Inquiry Science Summer Camp and Gardening Fun... Attracting Butterflies and Birds!
Did you know that every third bite of food we eat is a result of pollinators?
It’s true! Bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators help grow our food, keep our flowers blooming, and make our lands healthy. For many reasons, including lack of habitat, pollinators are struggling to survive.
Learning by Doing… Does Your Classroom Measure Up To Inquiry Based Science?
What is your learning style? Can you identify the preferred learning style of each of your students?
If you give it some thought, it is more than likely that every possible learning style preference is represented in your classroom. That can make it difficult to provide a successful learning environment for all of your students, but there is one method that will have all of your students covered.
Have you thought about... How Customized Curriculum Can Benefit Your Schools and Most Importantly Your Students?
“Working with Kendall Hunt Publishing to Customize Our Curriculum Has Exceeded Our Expectations!"
Many educators often experience frustration when trying to find the perfect curriculum for their needs. When currently published curriculum offerings just don’t measure up to the standards that you have set for your classroom, custom publishing is a fantastic solution to get exactly what you need.
How A Customized Curriculum Promotes STEM Concepts and Encourages Learning
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) has become a major focus for education in the United States, and with good cause, given the decline in America’s world rank in these subject areas. Teaching STEM subjects can seem daunting if you don’t have a degree or certificate in one of these areas, but you don’t have to be a science major to provide solid STEM curriculum to your students.
5 Ways To Encourage Your Students To Read At Home and Fall In Love With Reading
As the weather gets colder and students spend more time cooped up indoors after heading home from school each day, there is no better time to stress the importance of reading at home. Encourage your students to spend some (or most) of that time reading. For some students, this will seem much more appealing than it will for others. However, you can motivate all students and help them enjoy reading outside the classroom with these strategies:
How to Encourage the Scientific Interests of Young Girls, Into STEM Careers
On March 23, 2015, President Barack Obama stated, “Science is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity that world . . .” Our students’ success in the future will be dependent, not on what they know, but what they can do with what they know.
Inquiry and The Value of Cooperative Learning
In the first year of my teaching career I learned the value of having students work together in groups. I have to admit that this was not my first choice. Initially I used groups in order to position the desks of my 39 students in a way that made student and teacher movement easier and increased student work space. The downside of the group arrangement was noise level and occasional chaos.
The possibilities for the use of faith-based reading in the classroom are nearly limitless! Among the primary goals of reading instruction are building children’s literacy skills... read more
How can you foster the enjoyment of reading? Shared read-aloud is a major component of the Pathways 2.0* program and research has shown that it is an effective strategy for... read more
Innovation of new technologies is constantly moving forward. In the classroom, teachers have seen the shift from the use of videocassettes and DVDs to the use of online materials... read more
What is project-based learning (PBL)? How can I incorporate PBL into my classroom? To answer the first question simply, PBL is the act of learning through identifying a real-world... read more
Did you drive or ride in a car today? Are you using a computer or tablet to read this blog? Have you eaten a piece of fruit today? Have you visited a doctor or dentist recently?... read more
“Teacher, Teacher, What made that happen?” When students begin to question the phenomena that they have observed, much of the task of teaching is complete and the learning begins... read more