A LYS Teacher asks the following:
I have a particular question about Fundamental 5 and Framing the Lesson. I have been teaching now for 20 years, and this year is the first time I have taught with the objective in mind and not with the lesson in mind. I am finding greater success and am enjoying the challenge.
But… and it’s a big BUT… I have a unique situation: 1. I teach music; 2. I teach only Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 2nd Grade students; 3. My classes are only 30 minutes long, including lining up and switching with PE.
NOBODY HAS BEEN ABLE TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION FOR ME. How do I raise Bloom’s taxonomy, or rigor, or in this case bring the closing question/check for understanding? The responses I usually receive are, “Wow, that’s a great question,” or “Well, I never thought of that,” or “I’ll think about it and get back to you,” or a straight blow off, “You don’t need to worry about that.”
My class is important. The research that has and is continually coming out shows just how important it is. I want my students to get the most out of my class too.
So, can you help me? I understand that you and Mike Laird will be coming to our district to provide some staff development training. I hope that maybe you two can give me an answer or some form of help.
Thanks for taking the time to ask the question. This is easier than you think.
We have to recognize that you are a performance teacher (music and early primary grades). A performance classroom is different than an academic classroom in a number of ways. In a performance classroom, the students operate at an application level of cognition for a greater percentage of time than we see in academic classrooms. That’s what happened when the mind and body work together. Point that out next time anyone makes a crack about you being just “a music teacher.”
Also, the Close in a performance classroom is more of a, “Do, Show, or Describe” activity than the talk or write activities that we observe in an academic classroom.
What this means in the real world is since your students are operating at the application level of cognition for much of the class period, at the end of the class have the students talk to each other about: 1. What they did; 2. Why they did it; 3. What did if feel like; 4. How what they just did is similar or different to what they did previously; or 5. What would have happened if they would have done something slightly different.
These quick talking closes get students to push past the application level of cognition into the analysis and evaluation levels of cognition. Now every student won’t get to that level of cognition every day. But the more you close in this way, more students will think deeper (daily) without even realizing they are doing it. Even better, the students will take this improved thinking ability with them into their other classrooms. There is a reason why students who participate in performance classes and extra-curricular activities have more academic success than their peers that do not.
Try this for the rest of the semester and let us know how it worked when we are in your district in August.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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