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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Keep Those Metacognitve Ideas Coming!

Sally Guy from Elgin Community College provides many opportunities for student success through fostering metacognitive skills.Sally shared the following:

"I like to engage students in group projects such as creating a class booklet or calendar or some other "take away."  The level of students helps determine the project.  For instance, I have had lower NRS level students implement vocabulary word/s they have learned and come up with a sentence or short paragraph using the words. I have them work with a partner to come up with some type of dialogue, then I take their photos, create a calendar page with all my students, have it printed so that they all get copies.  They then have worked collaboratively, utilized new vocabulary, created a document, and finally have something tangible to take with them when class ends.  I feel that such projects give students a sense of accomplishment.  I do similar things with higher level students, but the booklets we make would be based on a novel read in class or some other connected activity. (This is also FUN!) 

In some classes I have students create and present to the class.  They have an option of choosing their topic, whether they work independently or with a partner, and the type of media they use.  (Some learn/do power point, others may use a poster or demonstrate in another way.)  Before they actually get in front of the class I help them brainstorm, show them an example or two of other student work, and we have a discussion of how this is valuable......such as in a work environment or job interview situation."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Special Learning Needs Sessions at the Forum for Excellence

I hope to see you at the Forum for Excellence Tuesday, September 22 and Wednesday, September 23 at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center! Here are SLN sessions that will be offered there:

Fostering Metacognition and Critical Thinking
9/22/15 1:45-2:45pm Redbird E – Sarah Goldammer

Is Your Writing Instruction Relevant and Meaningful from your Students’ Perspective?
9/22/15 4:15-5:15pm Redbird G – Kimberly Maddox-Reihl

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its Significance for the Adult Education Instructor
9/23/15 8:30-9:30am Fell C – Bevan Gibson

Differentiation: Giving Everyone the Opportunity to Succeed
9/23/15 11:00am-12:00p Redbird E Heather Martin & Tara Schwab

The NOT so Magic Kingdom of Adult Education
9/23/15 2:20-3:20pm Redbird A Christine Decker & Kellie Anderson

Monday, September 14, 2015

More Metacognitive Ideas!

Thanks to Carolyn Markel of Moraine Valley for sharing these ideas. Way to go Carolyn for empowering your students!

"For math, I like to have the students sometimes show math problems with drawings or manipulatives.  For example, students may be able to solve 1/4 of 20 on paper, but they struggle with how to show it with manipulatives.  They are often tempted to put the counters in groups of 4, instead of showing how there are four groups, and one of those groups has 5 in it, which is the answer.   

Also, after we complete an activity in class, I often ask my students to tell me why we just did what we did.  After being with me for a few classes, students soon learn that "because it will be on the GED" is not an acceptable answer to this question.  A lot of times the students will come up with much deeper reasons for doing an activity than I originally had in mind.  I think the students find this exercise empowering because it puts them in the mindset of the instructor.  They learn that my instruction is intentional and purposeful - and that a teacher isn't a magician or a puppet-master.  There is a method to the madness, so to speak. "

Please feel free to comment and share other ideas of what you do in your classroom.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fostering Metacognitive Skills and Critical Thinking in Your Classroom

Fostering metacognitive skills and critical thinking is a topic covered multiple times and in multiple ways in the Institute to Credential Special Learning Needs Resource Specialists. It's a topic everyone in education should value so I'm going to share some great posts from previous SLN participants and ask everyone out there to share their thoughts.

This is a topic I'll be presenting on at Elgin Community College this Saturday morning as they host the APC 509 15th Annual Adult Educator's Fall Conference. Then I will share the same information at the Forum for Excellence in Bloomington on September 22nd.  

Let's start a discussion here beginning with suggestions from Cathy Kramer of Waubonsee Community College:

"I would start by sharing my own thought processes.  What am I doing while reading?  How will I organize my thoughts? How will I find out the information I don’t know.   I like to share how I write down EVERYTHING I have to do during the day in the morning, even if it seems like I wouldn’t forget.  Marking each thing off my list gives me a sense of accomplishment.  Overtime, this has given me a real sense of how long each task will take to perform so that I can better organize my day."

What do you do to foster metacognitive skills and critical thinking?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Great Video for Start of the Educational Year

Check out this link suggested by Christine Decker of Parkland that features "Famous Failures":


What a great way to set the stage for the new educational year. It would also be a nice  starting point for classroom discussion on who these people are/were, what they did, and where we would be if they HAD given up! And you teachers know this leads to a natural writing prompt! 

Hope the new year is a great success!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Dates and Locations Announced!

Visit the link below to find the applications for the 2015-16 SLN Institutes:


Thanks to Triton College hosting our northern group and Southwestern Illinois College hosting our southern group.

If you have questions or need more information, contact Sarah Goldammer at sgoldam@siue.edu

Please note if you are interested but your program is waiting for your funding, please let Sarah know and we'll work with you.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Special Learning Needs Institute 2015 - 2016

We're ready to make plans for new SLN learning groups. Click on the link below to take you to the SIPDC website and some promotional information. Dates and locations are still being finalized. If you are interested in being a part of the 15-16 group, email Sarah at sgoldam@siue.edu!