Sunday, February 21, 2010

Turning Best Practices Into Daily Practices

This was, by far, the best presentation of the two day Ohio Conference for Classroom and Special Education Teachers in January of 2010. This presentation “Turning Best Practices into Daily Practices” was given by Anne Beninghoff. Anne is an internationally recognized consultant and trainer with more than 25 years of experience. She has published several books and videos and focuses on creative and practical solutions for effectively including students with diverse learning needs.
Not only did Anne give real and practical information, but she also shared the names and publications where the research for this information is published. Anne covered these 9 Best Practices: Increasing Participation, Focusing Attention, Identifying Similarities and Differences, Using Non-linguistic Representations, Making Connections, Determining Importance, Strengthening Memory, Summarizing, and Challenging Thinking.

An example of turning “Making Connections” into a daily practice- Lighting Up the Brain- Get a large chart paper. Draw a large brain (oval with lines throughout) on the chart paper. Ask students to gather around the large brain on the floor. Give each student a marker. Ask students a question to tap prior knowledge (example: What do you already know about the Solar System?). Students write something they already know about the Solar System in the brain on the paper. Teacher gets glow in the dark paint (Michaels, JoAnns, Pat Catans). Teacher puts paint next to each fact that the students already knew about the Solar System. Turn off the lights and see the brain light up! (This is after discussing with the class that when you make connections in class, you “zap” your brain with electricity.) Students can literally see how their connections (prior knowledge) make their brain light up (glow in the dark paint).

An example of “Strengthening Memory” as a daily practice- Spelling Shapes- There are 5 memory paths. Two of the memory paths are semantic memory (word based, used most in schools, hardest to access) and episodic memory (location-driven, easiest to access). In order to use both of these memory paths to learn new spelling words, try this. Hand out a graphic (an example could be a stick figure person). Tell the class the first new spelling word (an example could be the word ’squish.’) Ask- Where should we place the word ’squish’ on this picture? Students may suggest to the put the word ’squish’ under the foot of the stick figure person. Tell the class that the next spelling word is ‘queen.’ Students may suggest to draw a crown on the person and place the word ‘queen’ inside. This method continues for the rest of the words. The students can then take the drawing/spelling words home to study.

MANY other strategies were discussed and I can share them upon request.

No comments: