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From the Desk of SoperWritings

Month: February 2017 (page 1 of 2)

Three Ways to Boost Vocabulary

Improving literacy skills can often be a complicated proposition. Successful readers and writers use a combination of several skills such as print awareness, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension skills, grammar, and spelling to be able to both understand and create meaningful text. Improving a student’s overall literacy skill-set requires a multifaceted approach that deals with the individual skills as well as practice putting the skills together.

Of all of these skills, vocabulary is literacy’s toolbox. The more words a child knows, the more that child can understand and the more ways that child can express him or herself. In this article, let’s start improving literacy skills by focusing on three ways you can boost a child’s vocabulary.

 

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Video Games that Make Learning Fun

Video games are at the center of the gamification of education. While this movement to make learning more engrossing and engaging for a new generation focuses on changes away from the screen, video games remain a fun way to help build understanding and practice skills. Amazingly, some of the greatest examples can be acquired for under $20 making them affordable additions to the classroom or the home. Here are some of the best video games that make learning fun:

 

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Building Time Management Skills in a Differentiated Classroom

Differentiating instruction for students based on readiness, interest, and learning style is a powerful way to make learning personal and effective. Research shows that giving students options in how they engage with content and skill practice often results in an overall increase in engagement and growth.

When I made it a point to shift my middle school classroom to a fully differentiated model, I put in the hard work to create student-driven activities and experiences for my diverse population of learners.

There were exploratory projects, fascinating articles, student-created podcasts, curated video clips, gamified practice, and even virtual field trips. My classroom literally had something for everyone. But there was a problem: students were struggling with the time management skills associated with a choice-driven learning environment.

 

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Using Classroom Debates to Engage Students

Any teacher or parent of adolescents will tell you, kids love to argue! With some effort, you can harness this natural inclination in your classroom as a way to improve your students’ content knowledge and literacy abilities.

Two of the targeted initiatives in the Common Core standards are a focus on developing students’ speaking and listening skills and a focus on developing students’ abilities to support claims with evidence. Debating is a way to address both of these concepts in a fun and engaging way.

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Cliffs Notes and Book Summaries – Not Just for Cheaters!

As long as there have been literature courses taught in schools, there have been students looking for short-cuts to avoid long reading assignments. One of the most well-known of these shortcuts (right behind “rent the movie”) has been Cliffs Notes. For decades, students have sought out the infamous black and yellow paperbacks as a way to condense large readings into shorter, more manageable bites while picking up some key thematic and discussion elements along the way (…to help cover the tracks of their ruse)…

 

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