Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Involving All Students

Here are some ways to help ensure that all students are included in oral practice.

Many teachers tend to focus on one particular section of the classroom, without realizing it. Is it the area where the “good” students sit, or the front of the class, or the table by the window? Recognizing this tendency will help you adjust your focus and spread your attention more generally around the class.

Use the class list and call on every second or third student as you work your way down the list. Keep the list where you can refer to it easily.

To prevent students from “turning off” once they’ve responded to a question, ask several of them for a second answer later in the sequence. Ask the question first, pause, and then say a student’s name, instead of saying the name first. This way, everyone must listen to the question, in case they’ll be called on to answer it.

Look at the class as a set of lines or rows or groupings and address a question to a person from each row, line, or group.

If you have a few students who tend to shout out answers before anyone else has a chance to respond, make a rule that when a student has responded once, he or she must miss the next three chances before answering again.

After you ask the first question, invite the student who answers to name the student who will answer the next one.

If the student you ask is unable to respond, try repeating the question again. When it’s clear that the student isn’t able to respond, ask another student if he or she knows. If that student isn’t able to respond, open the question up to the group. Avoid asking, “Can anyone help Jamal?”

How do you help students participate in class? Share your ideas in a comment.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Using the Board to Practice Capitalization

Select a series of phrases or sentences that contain a number of different examples of capitalization.

Examples: Paris, France
the month of June
on Park Avenue
the United Nations
Rainbow Foods
Pierre’s wife, Marie
Rosita is from Colombia.
We went to Seattle, Washington, in July.
Why was Henry absent on Thursday?
Have you read the novel Pride and Prejudice?
May I help you?
George and Carla were married in December.
Have you been to the Mall of America in Bloomington?
Laurence was born in France but lives in Minnesota and speaks French and Italian.
Is the new Target store located on Cedar Avenue or Cedar Street?

1) Write the list of phrases and sentences on the board.
2) Ask students to find examples within the phrases in which similar words are capitalized and to formulate rules to cover those situations.
3) If students are literate in a first language that uses the Roman alphabet, ask them to compare capitalization rules in the two languages and note the differences.
4) The next day, write the same phrases and sentences on the board, but without capitalizations. Have students go to the board and make corrections.