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Friday, April 29, 2016

Tools from the Educator Tool Belt

Thanks to educators out there for sharing their great ideas for effective instruction - tools from their educator tool belt!


  1. The strategy that I found the most successful for teaching reading comprehension is modeling. The tutor demonstrates his thinking process by commenting out loud. It is very effective for working on summarizing. The tutor explains what the main points of the paragraph are and why he thinks that way. In addition, the tutor and student can work on completing the following table.

    The Topic of the Paragraph
    What the Author says about the topic
    A Question about the Topic

    It is important to remember, however, that the student should learn how to properly ask questions about the text first.


  2. One thing that I like to do is to send the students via email a video from YouTube in which it explains the topic that we will be discussing next class. That helps because it will give them a background information of the topics that we will learn and I tell them that if they don’t get it not to worry because we will learn it with the whole class. After the class those video can serve as reviews of what was learned in class. It very helpful and the students love it. I don’t sent any video I usually look for the video that explains the problem simple and clear keeping in mind that the point of the video is just to provide a nice background info and not the whole lesson, that is my job. The videos are just a small academic snack that will get them ready for the full meal they will receive in my class. Hope this recommendation will work.
    The following are just some examples of the videos I send to my student the videos are in Spanish since I teach Spanish math for GED students


    1. Thank you Juan for your super nice advice, I have been applying it since I read your comment, actually even if the student do have time to see the video, I start to play the video at the begging of the class and it is the perfect warm up for the specific math lesson.

  3. I agree with Irina about the importance of modeling and using a "Think Aloud" strategy. A great book about teaching reading strategies is "I Read It, But I Don't Get It" by Cris Tovani.

    "Six Way Paragraphs" by Walter Pauk is a good series for teaching comprehension skills.

    An online resource for informative and leveled reading passages is Newsela.com

    Townsend Press has many useful materials. I like "Ten Steps to Building College Reading" by John Langan.
    "Groundwork for Better Vocabulary"
    "Everyday Heroes"
    The Bluford Novel Series

    I liked "Daily Grams" from the Easy Grammar Series. (Grades 5-6 worked well with my students.)

    The MEL-Con strategy worked well for teaching students how to write paragraphs.

  4. I also agree with Irina and Kathy about modeling and using "think alouds." Our students have to understand HOW to learn, so we have to teach them that skill! I also use "chunking" for longer passages and teach how to read non-fiction text structure. I use daily reviews "warm-ups" for math skills and grammar / paragraph edits. I'm going to look at Kathy's suggestion for the "Daily Grams." I've used everyday edits from educationworld.com; they are easy but quick bits of information for each month too. Another good site is englishforeveryone.org, which can be used for ESL and ABE/GED. I also like the leveled readings on the Newsela website that Kathy mentioned. I use it for independent work, but it is good for class discussion in current events. Readworks.org also has many leveled readings. I also like the New Readers Press series for writing extended responses.

  5. Modeling is an instruction technique I have used in the area of writing a five-paragraph. I give a visual example of a five-paragraph essay. For example, I will color-code the transitional words and the thesis statement with each point of a thesis statement having a unique color. Students love seeing an example of the finished paper. They also love the use of color.

  6. As an old timer in the '90s, I remember as much as possible, visual learners love videos for math concepts (VHS/Filmstrips). By late '90s and mid 2000's, my students love the internet website called Mathtv. These are good tools to prior learning or during learning session. Of course, I also try doing team teaching because I have one way of teaching and the other instructor has his/her own way. Students are able to see different style of teaching and students with different learning style get the best of both worlds. Teaching math is an art, thus, we need to expose them in different format - by sight and by experience (math in action).