Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gallery Walk

What would you say if you walked by a classroom where all the students were talking and walking around? Some might say that the students were misbehaving, while others might say that every student was actively engaged in learning. The technique called gallery walk gets students out of their chairs and actively involved in reading, writing, public speaking, and synthesizing concepts. Questions are posted around the classroom on charts (which represent stations). Teams rotate from one chart or station to another, composing answers to questions and reflecting on the answers given by previous teams at the station. The technique closes with a "report out."

To find out more about gallery walk, go to:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Checking the Chatterer

Students love to talk, especially middle school students! They have opinions about everything--and we want them to be able to express their ideas. However, we want to channel that talking so that they are talking about the topic!

Dr. Ken Shore provides suggestions on how to check the chatterer. He provides a list of What You Can Do:

- Communicate your rules regarding talking.
- Cue the student to stop talking with a pre-arranged signal.
- Stand by your students.
- Do not bail out a student who has been talking.
- Use a noise meter.
- Keep track of noisiness.

To see the article in detail, go to:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Using own learning style

Teachers often teach their students using the same teaching techniques that were used with them or using their own style of learning as a basis for their teaching. Marshall (1991) researched and found that between 30-40% of the general population are visual learners but that teachers showed visual preference for learning at 85-90%, with auditory learning as a secondary preference. Very few teachers showed a preference for tactile or kinesthetic learning strengths. Therefore, most of the teachers taught the children in their classroom using visual and auditory learning styles.

Marshall, C. (1991). Teacher’s learning style: How they affected student learning. Clearing House, 64(4), p. 225.

Effects of reward systems on middle school students

Middle school students are unique! Two educational researchers, Wilson and Corpus, did a study on the effects of reward systems on academic performance on middle school students. There are many ways to give positive reinforcement. For an adult a verbal praise or encouragement might work. With young children, when they accomplish something, you smile, perhaps clap your hands, and show your love. Young children are happy when they please adults. Material rewards can also be given. When children get older, there are other ways to "reward." Wilson and Corpus (2001) stated that the challenge is for educators to provide appropriate balance as the students develop intrinsic motivation. Teachers can provide:

• choice
• feedback
• interpersonal involvement
• acknowledgment of feelings
• celebrations rather than rewards
• real life models
• cooperative learning.


Wilson L. & Corpus, D. (2001, September). The effects of reward systems on academic performance. Middle School Journal. Retrieved February 13, 2008 from

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Adolescent Brain: A Work in Progress

You might enjoy reading this article about the adolescent brain. It is both informational and entertaining! The Adolescent Brain: A Work in Progress was written by Pat Wolfe. She states, "Somewhere between ten and twelve, a strange thing happens. Almost over night it appears someone has unzipped your child and put someone else inside; you are living with a stranger." You can access at:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Stress Relief for Educators

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, "Teaching may be frustrating....Occasionally, teachers must cope with unruly behavior and violence in the schools. Teachers may experience stress in dealing with large classes... or heavy workloads....Accountability standards also may increase stress levels, with teachers expected to produce students who are able to exhibit satisfactory performance on standardized tests in core subjects" (Star, 2005, para. 1).

Education World has a "Strategies that Work" series. Their article on Stress Relief (for educators) has some interesting suggestions:

Reference: Star, L. (2005, March 21). Education World. Stress relief. Retrieved February 8, 2008 from:

Popsicle sticks

How do I get students to raise their hands to answer a question?

You don't! Use popsicle sticks as a technique to call on students. I found this technique to be helpful. Get some popsicle sticks and on each stick write the name of each student. When you are teaching and ask a question, rather than requiring the students to raise their hands, pull out one popsicle stick and call on that person to answer the question. They never complain and realize it is the luck of the draw. I have also used popsicle sticks when putting students into teams.

Using popsicle sticks to call on students help them stay alert as they never know whose name will be pulled out. The stick goes right back, so the child may have to answer the next question as well. Students never know when they will be called on to participate. In addition, there have been times when I have pulled out a name, but chose to say another student's name, either because I felt the original student could not answer the question or I was trying to get the attention of the student whose name I actually called. So you can be flexible with it.