Student Engagement Unit 3 Activity 2
TEXT-TO-PRACTICE EXERCISES The following exercises are meant for self-study or use in a professional learning community. Reflecting upon these activities and discussing them with colleagues is important. More important, however, is to use these exercises as springboards for improving teaching practice
TPE 5.1: Interview students about teacher-student relationships. Interview a few students about their perceptions of a caring and supportive teacher. The following are possible questions:
a. What makes a good teacher?
b. How does a teacher demonstrate that he or she cares about students?
c. How do teachers provide support/trust/safety in the classroom?
In lieu of interviews, a class project can be assigned at the beginning of the school year or semester.
TPE: 5.2: Evaluate effectiveness of teacher praise. The following scenarios illustrate different ways teachers might provide praise in the classroom. Using Table 5.4, describe what the teacher did that was effective and/or ineffective in providing praise.
Scenario 1: As Mrs. Slnith hands back reading tests to her seventh-grade students, she stops to speak to some students who put forth a particularly strong effort on the assignment. She tells one student, "Katie, I just wanted to let you know that I really recognized all of the hard work that you put into this assignment. It was a very difficult assignment and I could tell that you tried your best and noticed great improvement from your last assignment. I especially appreciate how you integrated the quotations so carefully into your own language. It makes your writing somuch stronger because the quotes are being used to backup your points. This is something you should continuedoing on all of your papers!"
Scenario 2: Mrs. Jones is a fifth-grade teacher. On all of her tests, she writes "Good job!" and draws a smiley face ff the assi.gnment is completed. Maria is a very strong student m the class. Mrs. Jones shows the other students how much Maria wrote and tells them that she likes Maria's paper because of its length. Mrs. Jones also has a points program. When the students complete their homework, they get a point. When everyone in the class gets ten points, the whole class gets a reward.
Scenario 3: Mr. Gonzalez assigned his high school students a project about fairness in school. He asked the students to collaborate on writing a letter to the local school board telling its members what they thought was unfair about schooling. He gave each student credit for participation in the exercise. He had the students compare their letters to each other to see which letter was the most effective. He then gave each group comments about their letters in which he praised their efforts and gave them specific feedback on how they did in relation to a rubric he had developed.
Scenario 4: Mr. Johnson has weekly conferences with his elementary-age students. He reviews the students' work for the week and tells the students what they have done well and what they need to improve on. He then helps the students make goals for the next week. When a student has clearly demonstrated strong effort to reach his or her goals, Mr. Johnson offers praise to the student and rewards him or her for the effort. Each student has a chart to measure how many weeks their goal is reached. When the students reach their goals, they note it on the chart.
The charts are publicly displayed.
TPE: 5-3: Evaluate instructional features that support cognitive engagement. Which aspect of Table 5.6 would characterize your classroom? How does it vary by subject area and lesson? What changes could you make to your mstruction to incorporate more of the features of a high cognitive engagement classroom?
TPE: 5-4: Reflect on your relationships with students. Think about students who you have had both positive and negative relationships with. Answer the questions in Table 5.7 about these students. Using information in this chapter, describe strateg]es you could use to improve these relationships.
TPE: 5.5: Develop a educationally responsive lesson.
Using information in Table 5.8, develop and teach a culturally responsive lesson. How did diverse students respond to this lesson?
TPE 6.1: Complete a classroom sociogram. A sociogram is a "mapping" of the friendships within a classroom. There are several ways to determine how connected students are to each other. Follow the instructions from Teaching Tolerance
What did you learn about your students' relationships to each other? How can this information help you support more positive relationships in your classroom?
TPE 6.2: Interview students about their friendships.
Interview students about their friendships. Ideally, choose students who vary in their social skills and level of peer acceptance. Possible questions include the following: 1. Who are your friends? 2. How are they similar or different from you? .- How do they support you in school?
TPE: 6.3: Develop a cooperative or collaborative learning lesson.
Using information Chapter 6, develop a cooperative or collaborative learning lesson. How did students respond to this lesson? What challenges did you encounter? How did you address each of these challenges?
TPE: 6.4: Develop strategies for productive group work.
The following table outlines several problems that may arise with group work m the classroom. For each challenge, develop a possible solution.