Friday, February 2, 2018

Get Them Talking

Think back to when you were in school for a moment. The model classroom was eerily silent as students toiled away on individual work assignments. Talking of any was frowned upon in class, and resulted in a lecture from the teacher, detention, or even worse for repeat offenders.

Today'c classroom looks and sounds nothing like those of the past. Students are busy working collaboratively, and noise is the norm. In fact, a quiet classroom today is sometimes considered boring.

When we did our book study of The Fundamental 5 back in 2015, we read about the power of Frequent, Small Group, Purposeful Talk, or FSGPT. This instructional strategy allows for time set aside for kids to engage each other in conversation that is directly connected to what you are teaching. For example, a teacher might ask students to turn to a partner and spend two minutes discuss the following:

A character's traits or motives in ELAR
The steps to solve a simple equation in Math
A leader's strategy in a key Civil War Battle in Social Studies
Why a chemical reaction occurred in a Science lab
Why an artist may have chosen to create a particular painting

The possibilities really are endless. According to the book's authors, Cain and Laird (2011), FSGPT provides an opportunity for students to teach each other, resulting in high rates of retention and high levels of thinking. Furthermore, they assert that FSGPT "resets" students' attention spans, which last only about 8-10 minutes for 6th-8th graders.

As you know, middle school kids love to talk. Let's steer that chatter towards learning!

Upcoming Events

5 thru 9 - School Counselors Week
7 - Grand Prairie ISD visits WGMS
8 - 6th Grade Aim for Success Cyberbullying assemblies in Math classes
8 - Basketball vs. Red Oak, boys home, girls away, 5:30
8 - Parent U Alan November technology presentation,  11:15am @ admin and 6:00pm @ Heritage
9 - Sonic Drink Day for staff, conference room
9 - 7th Grade Aim for Success Cyberbullying assemblies in Math classes
10 - Choir All-region Clinic and Contest, here, all day
12 - 8th Grade Aim for Success Cyberbullying assemblies in Math classes
13 thru 15 - Bruce Ahlborn from Apple works with WGMS teachers
16 - No school
17 - Wildcat Dancers contest @ Grapevine H.S.

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