As spring temperatures rise (and testing begins), students and teachers start to get antsy. What can we do to make end-of-year more productive and enjoyable while also saving our sanity? After 17 springs in the classroom, Amber Chandler has three ideas that may help relieve the jitters.
Author: Amber Chandler
Traditional conferencing isn’t a good fit for Amber Chandler’s project-based classroom. She uses a version of “unconferencing” that provides flexible student support, with help available from both teacher and classmates. A detailed example explains the process.
Opening your classroom door to families for student presentations can be intimidating. Think gas leaks, mumbled swear words and flop sweat, says Amber Chandler. But it can also be the ultimate learning and bonding experience among families, students, and teachers.
Amber Chandler is pondering testing. Not big league, high stakes exams but the run of the mill end-of-unit kind. When 20 percent of her students stumble over literary terms on The Giver unit test, she opts for a flexible (but controversial) “point buy-back” offer.
Teaching students to take good notes and allowing them to use “open notes” on most class tests is good instructional practice, says ELA teacher Amber Chandler. She details how her open-note approach sharpens student focus and provides data to strengthen lessons.
Instead of just saying “study your vocabulary,” Amber Chandler is trying out Quizlet Live, an online team-based game that has students begging for more. She says the easy tech tool promotes collaborative competition, meets SEL needs, and requires little extra work.
Last year, Amber Chandler reluctantly admits to herself, her lesson plan for teaching “The Most Dangerous Game” wasn’t stellar. Instead of tossing it, she decided to figure out what went wrong. Honest reflection, she’s convinced, is the only way teachers grow.
From failing to bring the required supplies to not being on time, Amber Chandler was quick to give negative grades to students who “lacked responsibility.” Until she encountered Nick. Today she’s more sensitive to the socio-economic challenges many students face.
Amber Chandler and her co-teaching colleague will use the One Word Challenge this fall to set the focus and tone for a cohesive classroom culture. After a trial run last January, they are confident it’s the perfect way to kick off the year. Tips & slides!