DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Here are some ideas I have been recording.  They come from the readings we have done since the beginning of the program and from my colleagues, who shared them on various occasions.  I thought I would put these thoughts together to reference in the future.  I find them inspirational. 


““Today I don’t want you to say ‘here’ when I call your name,” she explained the first day.  “Instead, I want you to answer ‘hamburger’ or ‘pizza,’ based on which one you like better”…The next day she asked them to name their favorite musicians.  On other days, she learned about their birthplaces, their pets, and even their favorite books.” (Clock Watchers 15)


“Ed showed me some of these initial poems he had printed from a remedial-level class this year.  They all start with the student’s first name; the next line is three adjectives that describe themselves; then a line about what they like; another about what they fear; a third about what they hope for in the future; and finally, their last name.  A typical example:


            talented, funny

            who loves rapping, dancing, art

            who fears getting shot, not passing a grade, seeing my

                        mother getting killed for someone else

            who would like to see myself graduating on stage, myself

                        getting a car, myself bringing in a lot of money


(Fried The Passionate Teacher 144)


“If someone does something wrong, goofs up, I work hard to keep them in the conversation with me, to not give them a chance to give up on me, or on themselves.  I use myself, my own vulnerability” (Fried The Passionate Teacher 146)


“Inform parents of open house events by sending home an addressed, personalized card well in advance.  A personal card from you tells parents you wish to see them.  Also, more parents may be able to attend an open house on a weekend.  Find out what days and times are best for most parents, and schedule events accordingly” (Ramirez and Soto-Hinman A Place for All Families)


“A fifth grade class placed Columbus on trial, complete with prosecution and defense teams.  Evidence was gathered from sources reflecting differing perspectives about Columbus” (Tunnell and Ammon The Story of Ourselves: Fostering Multiple Historical Perspectives)


“For example, students may be asked to view their neighborhoods as texts and to write, speak, and create visual representations of the process through which they interpret the people, buildings, landscapes, and natural aspects of their own living spaces.  The same process could be applied to a school setting, so that students examine for themselves and their peers what is required to function successfully in a particular classroom or hallway.  Once students develop an understanding that they are interpreting the world around them as they live in it, teachers and students can work together to structure these once-abstract processes by noting the formal structures that they use in their interpretation.  For example, teachers and students could explore interpretations of a person based on the exterior of his or her home, as learners make judgments about the home’s appearance, location, and surroundings.” (Rush Taking a Broad View of Literacy: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail Thru-hiking Community)


“Give students folders to hold their writing and an accessible space to keep the folders inside the class…Allow students to write quotes from the stories (or other texts) on the board when they find a line that is especially appealing” (Baca Adolescents on the Edge 7)


“Celebrate positive events and achievements…Create bulletin boards for students to post photographs, announcements, ideas, or responses to stories” (Baca Adolescents on the Edge 11)


“How have human lives, throughout history, been improved because of mistakes someone made while learning?” (Baca Adolescents on the Edge 20)


“The best teachers…measure every lesson with an exit ticket” (Lemov Teach Like a Champion 61)


What to Do starts, logically, with your telling students what to do – that is, with not telling them what not to do” (Lemov Teach Like a Champion 178)


“The most important moment to set expectations in your classroom is the minute when your classroom students enter or, if they are transitioning within a classroom, when they formally begin their lesson” (Lemov Teach Like a Champion 197)


“Act early...Act reliably…Act proportionately” (Lemov Teach Like a Champion 199)


“One of the best ways to help students learn to revise is to show them your writer’s underbelly.  Put a piece of writing out there, swallow hard, and ask them how you could make it better” (Baca Adolescents on the Edge 53)


“The time to coach students is during the writing process, not after the game is over” (Baca Adolescents on the Edge 56)


“[R]esist the urge to grade every piece of writing students produce…Give students every opportunity to produce their best piece of writing to be turned in for a grade by having them keep a portfolio of their writing.  Some pieces may be works in progress, some may be personal pieces students never intend to have you grade, and others may be almost complete” (Baca Adolescents on the Edge 56)



“Teacher Feedback Prompts

1. Why did you choose to…?

2. How might your thinking have changed if you had…?

3. I was wondering…?

4. Have you considered…?

5. I have a question about this.

6. I’m not sure I understand…

7. This part of the piece is brilliant!  Towards the end, however, you seem to lose your momentum.  Can you figure out why?

8. I want to know more.  What happened then?

9. How would your piece change if you moved this part here?

10. You seem to be holding back.  I just don’t hear your voice in this piece.  Why don’t you try freewriting for a while?” (Baca Adolescents on the Edge 56)


“A successful lesson is rarely marked by a teacher’s getting a good intellectual workout at the front of the room” (Lemov Teach like a Champion  93)


“Simply slow down” (Gore Inclusion Strategies for Secondary Classroom 70)


“Tileston (2000) reported that in middle school and high school, students stop listening or attending after 15 to 20 minutes of lecture…Dyson (2008) incorporated three 1-minute pauses into his lectures – 20 minutes,  30 minutes, and 40 minutes into the lectures.  At each pause, the students were told to write one thing they had learned” (Gore Inclusion Strategies for Secondary Classroom 72)


“One favorite wrap-up technique of several SIOP® teachers is Outcome Sentences.  A teacher can post sentence starters on the board or transparency, such as:

            I wonder…

            I discovered…

            I still want to know…

            I learned…

            I still don’t understand…

            I still have a question about…

            I will ask a friend about…” (Gore Inclusion Strategies for Secondary Classroom 174)


“In college, I had a professor who allowed students to defend answers they had gotten wrong on the test.  If we could defend our responses, we could get as much as half credit back for that questions.  While gathering the information to defend our answers, we learned the material in much greater depth” (Dirksen Hitting the Reset Button 29)


“Jigsaw activities where students are assigned to expert groups and teaching groups, can also be used as formative assessments” (Dirksen Hitting the Reset Button 29)


“We can also use short writing assignments to check for understanding.  One example is called ‘3, 2, 1.’  Students write three things about concept A, two things about concept B, and one thing that connects concepts A and B” (Dirksen Hitting the Reset Button 29)


“ ‘Circle, Square, Triangle.’  After giving a presentation or engaging students in a learning activity, I have students describe three metaphorical ideas by responding to the following questions:

            1. What’s still going around in your head?  In other words, what do you still not quite


            2. What’s squared away?  What do you really understand?

            3.  And finally, what three things could you used in your life, work, or studies?” (Dirksen Hitting the Reset Button 29)


“To create an affinity diagram, engage students in a brainstorming session to create a list of information of ideas related to a specific topic.  Second, involve students in sorting the list into holistic groups.  Finally, title each group and organize the information into a diagram that demonstrates hierarchy or relationship” (Dirksen Hitting the Reset Button 29)


“Transferrable Concepts (i.e. Big Ideas)





















































(Wiggins and McTighe Understanding by Design 74)


Bumper stickers

  1. “All bumper stickers must be historically accurate.
  2. Students must remain faithful to the historical record of the period under discussion, but they may base their bumper stickers on contemporary models.
  3. Bumper stickers may not be offensive in nature.  They may not contain profanity, nor may they denigrate a person or a group of people.
  4. The bumper stickers must be on an 11”x3” piece of poster board, reflecting the approximate size of real stickers.
  5. The students must use color” (30, Bumper Stickers and Other Strategies)

Historical Heads

“This activity…has proved to be an excellent way to have students get into the mind of historical figures…You can use the Historical Head strategy in a number of ways: with films, outside research, and class readings.” (32)

“Directions: Please fill the cranial space below with the thoughts, ideas, visions, and motivations of Frederick Douglas.  Please use a minimum of four images and be sure to number them on the back with a corresponding statement that identifies each image.  Again, use color and your imagination to complete this activity” (33, Bumper Stickers and Other Strategies)




Maureen Sigler:

1.  Pose a question before beginning a unit to give orientation to the learning process.

2.  Chalk talk – writing down ideas, commenting on others’ thoughts, grouping ideas together.

3.  Parking lot as collective group memory.

4.  Before you take one side, tell me what the other side is.

5.  Adjustable tools, not expectations. 

6.  Carousel.

7.  Post-it talking: your receive one (two, etc.) post-it note, put it on your desk, remove it after you spoke, can’t speak again until everyone else has spoken.

8.  DEAR time – Drop Everything And Read.

9.  “I would like three questions now” instead of “Does anyone have any questions?”

10.  Word bank


Patrick’s Dad

1.  Never worry alone.

2.  I drop some tissue; you can scream/jump/whatever until it hits the floor.


Maria’s Dad

1.  Talk with students.

2.  Laugh.



1.  A thought-provoking quote on the board before the class.

2.  Cornell note taking.

3.  Fishbowl activity – representing opposing voices from the reading.



1.  Mirror exercise – two partners face each other, one partner tries to mimic the movements of their partner, then switch.

2.  Sculpture garden – two partners, one of them is clay, the other is a sculptor.  The sculptor tries to shape their clay into something they wish and give the sculpture a name, and then into  a given object or idea (monster, flood).


Sara Kay

1.  Writing prompt: “List three things that you know are true.”

2.  Venn diagram as a class constitution: mutual expectations.


Google Earth PresenterJ

1.  To illustrate interdependence, take apart an old object (i.e. cell phone) and see where its parts were made.


Ed Abbott

1.  “It’s a human right to know something.”

2.  “Spaces of silence are as important as words.  Give students time to think.”

3.  Put two chairs next to each other, facing the students.  Move from one chair onto the other, speaking two opposing voices in an argument.


Ruth Marris Macaulay, History Department Head, Lincoln School

1.  Pass a ball of string to a student, ask them to hold on to the end of the string, speak, then throw the ball to another person, who will hold on to the string before passing the ball onto another person.  See what patter will be created after the discussion is over.

2.  An advisee journal with thought-provoking questions.  The teacher keeps the journal for the time the student is at school, then gives it to the student before graduation.  The teacher responds to what the student writes, communication goes on.  Examples: “What does success mean to you?” “How do you get attention?  What’s the difference between positive and negative attention?”


Julia Eells, Head of School, Lincoln School

1.  “Lowliness is having the strength to let others have their voice.”

2.  “Gender is a probability, not an inevitability.”

3.  “We do work that has no guarantee.  When the day is done, it’s done.”

4.  “We live the best way we can.  We do our best.”


Dave Mercante, History Teacher, Lincoln School

1.  “History is a story.  You write down the things that are important for the plot” in response to a student’s, “What are we supposed to write down when we take notes on the reading?”





DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.