Power Teaching – Day 5: Power Learning

Well, it’s Friday, and we’ve flown through a week of Power Teaching.  After a false start, I managed to get with the program and the students have followed right along.  Today was NOT a normal day of teaching.  We got some tests out of the way first thing because I knew a student had to leave at 9:00.  In addition to his absence, there were 4 others absent.  That made only 13 left of my 18.  My morning also included 90 minutes of IEP meetings where my assistant was in charge of the class.  Then, I left for lunch early because we had be given the once a year privilege to leave campus for an hour.  I enjoyed a terrific time with my colleagues.  Oh yes, and then we had Music too.

Out of our normal 4 hour morning with 18 students, I only spent an hour and a half with 13 students and half of that time was spent testing.  Sounds like there might not be any revelations about Power Teaching. HAH!  There’s a part of Power Teaching that I really hadn’t thought about – Power Learning.  My students, every one of them, did better on their Reading selection test than ever before.  As I graded the tests, I noticed how well my higher achieving students did.  While they usually do well, this time they all scored 100%.  Then I realized that mixed in with those 100’s were tests from my on grade level AND some below level students.  Once I had them all graded, I had to stop and take a breath.  Was this a story that the students were highly involved with? No.  Did they have a great deal of prior knowledge?  No, on the contrary, the story Jingle Dancer was about a Native American girl preparing for her first dance at a Pow Wow.  I was surprised that none of my students even knew what a Pow Wow was since we have a large Choctaw community in our county.

I know that it was my teaching and their response that made the difference.  In these days of ‘teaching to the test’, Power Teaching is an incredibly useful tool.  Much of the testing we do these days seems to cover skills in isolation.  Using focused micro lessons, I can reinforce those chunks of learning that the tests assess.

Next week is just plain stupid – we are at the park Tuesday and have a whole day, play day on Thursday.  In between though, I’ll be preparing for and giving the final unit test.  I’m actually looking forward to it.  I haven’t decided how best to do it yet, but I think I’ll review and test one section at a time.  Each section is quite different from the next so it will be a challenge to determine just what my micro lessons will consist of.  It will be a great review for my students and great practice for me.

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Published in: on May 10, 2008 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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