Monday, March 02, 2009

Melissa Kelly who writes for states: "Students, in fact all individuals, are most effective when they are taught in their personal learning style. In fact, there are three major types of learners: visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic. While most individuals without disabilities can learn using any one of these styles, most people have one for which they show a stronger affinity." Click on the link to read her article and find out more about ways you can incorporate activities that address all learning styles:

Saturday, October 11, 2008


You may want to take a look at applying for a UFT Teacher Center Mini-grant. The UFT awards several each year and if you can only write one grant proposal, this is the one to write. You can get the flyer and the application from: (I have won this several times. The money goes directly to you so you can use it in the classroom but you must keep exact financial records. The UFT Teacher Center also provides a nice award ceremony for the winners.)

The September 25, 2008 UFT paper provides information about grants, awards and freebies on page 14. Take a look specifically at the Science or Technology awards: When you write grant proposals for your school, you must first clear it with your administration. In addition, your administration might have to provide the school’s background information (usually from their CEP-Comprehensive Educational Plan) and must sign the document.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Welcome to the new school year!

Get a Voki now!

Welcome to the new school year! I am looking forward to working with you this semester.

As I did last semester, occasionally I will stop by to post a message about educational theory--in other words, suggestions about classroom management and techniques. I have gathered many ideas and techniques over the years--some that I have used and others that I have not. They are suggestions for you to use or to ignore. You need to use what is best for you and pass over items that you feel would not work with your style.

This blog spot will, unfortunately, not be interactive. It is not a place for discussion. If you have a technique that you'd like me to post here, please email me ( ). The best way to recommend a technique is to tell a little bit about it and provide a web address to an article or research about it.

I hope you enjoy this blogspot and that you find items that you can use or that you can adapt to your needs.

(Dr. Roberts)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

blogs in education

Will Richardson has done a lot of work using blogs in education and encouraging others to do so as well. Take a look at this video about Will Richardson’s work in using blogs in education:

Here’s Will Richardson's Blog:

The Queens OIT (Office of Instructional Technology) provides training in incorporating the use of blogs in the classroom and provides blog web space as well:
iTeach professional development:

Blogging in Queens:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Carousel Brainstorming

Carousel Brainstorming is similar to gallery walk. It fosters discussion and brainstorming. It allows for students to move around with a purpose—especially good for the kinesthetic learners. It provides cooperation and collaboration among the students. In addition, it provides opportunity for students to orally present the work and for students to learn from one another.

Take a look at this website and click on the video to see carousel brainstorming in action.

Then take a look at these resources to find out more about carousel brainstorming and see how you can adapt it to fit into your lesson:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Foldables--3D Graphic Organizers


Foldables are 3D, interactive graphic organizers. They help students organize information, similar to 2D organizers but students seem to enjoy creating and using these much more!

There are a variety of types of foldables. Below are examples of some that you can find online; however, you will need to adapt them to your needs.


Here is an excerpt from the article “Foldables: Improving Learning with 3-D Interactive Graphic Organizers:”

Here is an article about how to create and use foldables in your classroom:


One type of foldable I have used can be seen here:


And here are pictures of various types of foldables

Monday, March 10, 2008

Techniques to support English Language Learners (ELL)

The information below comes from New Visions for Learning, pages 14, 15, and 16. It can be accessed at: and was adapted from:

Short, D. & Echavaria, J. (1999). The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol: A Tool for Teacher-Researcher Collaboration and Professional Development. Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence.

Another useful resource can be accessed at:

Thompson, G. (2000, Winter) The real deal on bilingual education: Former language-minority students discuss effective and ineffective instructional practices. Educational Horizons, p. 128-140.

Although the focus of this information is about helping the English Language Learners (ELLs), these suggestions will help teachers become more effective in helping ALL students learn.

Supporting English Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom
Teachers should use/provide:

Context cues and supplementary materials such as
-visuals, props and body language;
-Speech modifications such as repetition and pauses during speech;
-Sufficient wait time for student responses;
-Interactive lectures with frequent comprehension checks;
-Cooperative learning strategies;
-Emphasis on central concepts rather than details by using a thematic approach;
-Development of reading strategies such as mapping and writing to develop thinking skills;
-Authentic, meaningful learning opportunities;
-Ample opportunities for students to develop metacognitive strategies

Scaffolding of content and materials to reach learners at all levels. Use supplementary material like visuals, props, gestures and body language or speech modifications such as repetition, pauses and increased wait time for student responses. Enunciates and avoids use of idioms and slang.

Students are engaged, able to identify lesson content, express reason for learning it and know how work will be evaluated. Lesson’s objectives and activities announced and instructions listed step-by-step.

Interactive lectures with frequent comprehension checks. Does not ask, “Do you understand?” but asks student to demonstrate their learning. Frequent summation of salient points and emphasis on key vocabulary words

Classroom is print-rich. Walls display student work, posters with key concepts and vocabulary, learning strategies. Desk arrangement fosters cooperative learning strategies and group work.

Prior knowledge
Learning opportunities have a connection to real life. New information presented in the context of known information to augment vocabulary development. Metacognitive skills Emphasis on metacognitive strategies like mapping, KWL charts and note-taking skills.


Lesson Plan Checklist
This checklist, adopted from the Sheltered Observation Protocol (SIOP), serves as a useful tool

I. Content (Learning Objectives and Materials)
1. Write content objectives clearly for students.
2. Write language objectives clearly for students.
3. Choose content concepts appropriate for age and educational background level of students.
4. Identify supplementary materials to use (graphs, models, visuals).
5. Adapt content (e.g., text, assignment) to all levels of student proficiency.
6. Plan meaningful activities that integrate lesson concepts (e.g., surveys, letter writing, simulations, and constructing models) with language practice opportunities for reading, writing, listening, and/or speaking.

II. Process (Delivery and Organization)
Building Background
7. Explicitly link concepts to students’ backgrounds and experiences.
8. Explicitly link past learning and new concepts.
9. Emphasize key vocabulary (e.g., introduce, write, repeat, and highlight) for students.
Comprehensible Input
10. Use speech appropriate for students’ proficiency level (e.g., slower rate, enunciation, and simple sentence structure for beginners).
11. Explain academic tasks clearly.
12. Use a variety of techniques to make content concepts clear (e.g., modeling, visuals, hands-on activities, demonstrations, gestures, body language).
13. Provide ample opportunities for students to use strategies (e.g., problem solving, predicting, organizing, summarizing, categorizing, evaluating, self-monitoring).
14. Use scaffolding techniques consistently (providing the right amount of support to move students from one level of understanding to a higher level) throughout lesson.
15. Use a variety of question types including those that promote higher-order thinking skills throughout the lesson (e.g., literal, analytical, and interpretive questions).
16. Provide frequent opportunities for interaction and discussion between teacher/student and among students about lessons concepts, and encourage elaborated responses.
17. Use group configurations that support language and content objectives of the lesson.
18. Provide sufficient wait time for student responses consistently
19. Give ample opportunities for students to clarify key concepts … with aide, [or] peer….
20. Provide hands-on materials and/or manipulatives for students to practice using new content knowledge.
21. Provide activities for students to apply content and language knowledge in the classroom.
22. Provide activities that integrate all language skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening and speaking).
Lesson Delivery
23. Support content objectives clearly.
24. Support language objectives clearly.
25. Engage students approximately 90-100% of the period (most students taking part and on task throughout the lesson).
26. Pace the lesson appropriately to the students’ ability level.

III. Products (Assessment)
27. Give a comprehensive review of key vocabulary.
28. Give a comprehensive review of key content concepts.
29. Provide feedback to students regularly on their output (e.g., language, content, work).
30. Conduct assessments of student comprehension and learning throughout lesson on all lesson objectives (e.g. spot checking, group response).