MAMSE Wrap-up: Center for Excellence in Education (CMU)

If we keep adding stuff to the show, we’re going to be well into a 2 hour podcast.  With all the news that’s coming along I could keep putting off my MAMSE notes forever.  It took a long time to get through our NMSA 08 wrap-up!  Considering that, here’s part of my MAMSE wrap-up for MAMSE 09.

This year’s conference was held in Saginaw Township and one of Michigan’s Schools to Watch.  Lots of cold weather this year countered by warm friendships.  In no particular order, and I’m sure I won’t have all the ones I attended, here are the sessions I attended.

Central Michigan’s Center for Excellence in Education:  Instructional Strategies to Support Differentiated Instruction by Polly Matyorauta & Pat Benson.  This was a well done presentation on strategies used to support differentiated classroom instruction on the fly.  Those of you who are familiar with Kagan Structures will recognize some of these.

  • 30 Second Speech – After a reading or presentation of new content, students are asked to create a short 30 second speech to deliver to one other person in the classroom.
  • Air Traffic Controller – The teacher poses a question but before taking responses assigns numbers in which the answers “land” and then goes from response to response withholding any teacher feedback after each response.
  • Attention First – The teacher can reclaim lost chatter time by using a physical cue to indicate that attention needs to come back to the teacher.
  • Corners – Students select a corner of the room to discuss a particular topic or aspect of the reading or presented information.  For example, a teacher might put four quotes around the room and allow students to select the quote they want to discuss before coming back to their desks to reflect or write about the quote as a prompt.
  • Graphic Organizers – visual frames to organize information.
  • Metaphorically Speaking – Students are given objects and then asked to come up statements from the learning that use the object as a metaphor.  For example, the Scientific Method is like a Road Map because it provides a path to help me find solutions.  (Ok, I shouldn’t be giving the examples on this one . . .)
  • Minute Fingers – While students work in cooperative groups, sometimes they need more time.  The teacher can ask the groups to come to an agreement on how much time they need (which can also be zero) and then hold up the number of fingers indicating the amount of time they want.
  • Most Important Point (MIP) – Students summarize the class period on a sticky note and post it on the wall or door as an exit ticket as they leave for the day.
  • Quiz-Quiz-Trade – This is a Kagan Structure where students write down a question from the content on a 3 X 5 card with the answer.  They pair up and each asks their questions.  Whether they get it right or wrong, they trade cards and then find new partners.
  • Say Something – Students pair up for a reading.  One student reads for a bit and then the other summarizes what the first student read, switch roles.
  • Show, Don’t Say – When the kids are in cooperative groups, don’t just tell them how much time they have left.  Tell them they have “this many minutes” left, and hold up a number of fingers forcing them to look at your hand to see how many minutes are left.

One of the pieces they used that I kept and didn’t turn in was a reflective writing sheet.  In a square at the top of the page was typed, “What Squares with my thinking?”  Halfway down the page was written, “What’s still circling around in my head?”  At the bottom of the page in a triangle they put, “Three points I want to remember from today.”