Active Learning Workshop Essentials

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Active Learning Workshop Essentials

Ana Aqra Association offers a series of workshops to build and further advance the capacity of teachers, administrators and parents on best practices for active learning in schools. In conjunction with the national and regional educational efforts, Ana Aqra Association is dedicated to meeting these objectives which will reinforce, support and strengthen the efforts of educators across the region.

1. Classroom Organization and Schedule Essential

Classroom Organization

Organizing a safe classroom environment optimizes student learning and reduces distractions by strategically placing:

  1. Furniture
  2. Learning centers
  3. Resources and materials

How the classroom environment is organized influences the behavior in it.

Classroom Management

What is classroom management?

  1. It is effective discipline
  2. It is being prepared for class
  3. It is motivating your students
  4. It is providing a safe and enabling learning environment
  5. It is building your students' self esteem
  6. It is being creative and imaginative in daily lessons

Daily Schedule and Routines

  1. They influence a child's emotional, cognitive, and social development.
  2. They help children feel secure.
  3. They help children understand expectations.
  4. They help reduce behavior problems.
  5. They can result in higher rates of child engagement

Schedules

Schedules represent the big picture - main activities to be completed daily.

  1. Blocks of time for classroom activities
  2. Sequence of classroom activities

Preschool and early years schedules typically include:

  1. Group or circle time
  2. Activity or work station time

routines

Routines represent the steps taken to complete a schedule.Activities and procedures that occur regularly often involve a series of responses.Preschool and early years routines typically include:

  1. Arrival time
  2. Departure time
  3. Bathroom time
  4. Cleanup time
  5. Snack time
  6. Story time
2. Responsive Classroom Approach Essential

"Responsive Classroom" is an approach to elementary teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community.

Guiding Principles

  1. The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  2. How children learn is as important as what they learn: process and content go hand in hand.
  3. The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  4. To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  5. Knowing the children we teach individually, culturally, and developmentally is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  6. Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children's education.
  7. How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual competence: lasting change begins with the adult community.

Classroom Practices

At the heart of the "Responsive Classroom" approach are ten classroom practices:

  1. Morning Meeting - gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead
  2. Rule Creation - helping students create classroom rules to ensure an environment that allows all class members to meet their learning goals
  3. Interactive Modeling - teaching children to notice and internalize expected behaviors through a unique modeling technique
  4. Positive Teacher Language - using words and tone as a tool to promote children's active learning, sense of community, and self-discipline
  5. Logical Consequences - responding to misbehavior in a way that allows children to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity
  6. Guided Discovery - introducing classroom materials using a format that encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility
  7. Academic Choice - increasing student learning by allowing them teacher-structured choices in their work
  8. Classroom Organization - setting up the physical room in ways that encourage students' independence, cooperation, and productivity
  9. Working with Families - creating avenues for hearing parents' insights and helping them understand the school's teaching approaches
  10. Collaborative Problem Solving - using conferencing, role playing, and other strategies to resolve problems with students
3. Positive Discipline Essential

Discipline is:

  1. Giving children positive alternatives
  2. Acknowledging efforts and good behavior
  3. When children follow rules because they are discussed and agreed upon
  4. Consistent, firm guidance
  5. Positive, respectful of the child
  6. Physically and verbally non-violent

Punishment is:

  1. Being told only what NOT to do
  2. Reacting harshly to misbehavior
  3. When children follow rules because they are threatened or bribed
  4. Controlling, shaming, ridiculing
  5. Negative and disrespectful of the child
  6. Physically and verbally violent and aggressive

Seven Principles for Positive Child Discipline:

  1. Respect the child's dignity
  2. Develop pro-social behavior, self-discipline, and character
  3. Maximize the child's active participation
  4. Respect the child's developmental needs and quality of life
  5. Respect the child's motivation and life views
  6. Assure fairness (equity and non-discrimination) and justice
  7. Promote solidarity

Four Steps to Establish Positive Discipline:

  1. Appropriate behavior is described
  2. Clear reasons are provided
  3. Acknowledgement is requested
  4. Correct behavior is reinforced

Character Building

Building character in the student and developing a sense of community in the school.Six pillars to character building:

  1. Trustworthiness: honesty (in what you say and do), integrity, reliability and loyalty
  2. Respect: civility, courtesy and decency, dignity and autonomy, tolerance and acceptance
  3. Responsibility: accountability, pursuit of excellence, self-restraint
  4. Fairness: process, impartiality and equity
  5. Caring: the heart of ethics
  6. Citizenship: includes civic virtues and duties that prescribe how we ought to behave as part of a community
4. Reading and Writing Essential

Reading Workshop

Teach reading for meaning and higher thinking. Emphasize on using the skills and strategies across content areas.

  1. Reading comprehension strategies include activating prior knowledge, making connections, predicting and inferring...
  2. Read aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.
  3. Each text has its demands and uses (be prepared, read the book and familiarize yourself with the story)
  4. Read aloud before any mini lesson
  5. Read with purpose
  6. Mini lesson components (connection, teaching point, modeling, active engagement, link and closing)
    1. Word attack
    2. Fluency
    3. Accuracy
  7. Assessments and observations
  8. Differentiated teaching and independent reading
  9. Print-rich classroom environment
  10. Class teaching, guided reading, individual conferencing
  11. Independent reading the "Just Right Book"
  12. Teach readers within a leveled classroom library
  13. Write about reading
  14. Reader's chair to share

Writing Workshop

Teach how to write beyond grammar and spelling.Incorporate small moments and specific details to tell a story

  1. Read aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary and provides a model of mentor text
  2. Read aloud before any mini lesson and read with purpose
  3. Mini lesson components (connection, teaching point, modeling, active engagement, link and closing)
    1. Writing forms
    2. Writing process
    3. Writing traits
    4. Writing genres
  4. Assessments and observations
  5. Differentiated teaching and independent writing
  6. Print-rich classroom environment
  7. Class teaching, guided writing, individual conferencing
  8. Writer's chair to share

Word Study

  1. Letter name recognition
  2. Letter sound recognition
  3. Letter name - sound relationship
  4. Letter sorting / letter matching / letter hunt...
  5. Letters in each child's name / name tags
  6. Sight words and most frequent word wall
  7. Flash cards / memory cards...
  8. Spelling and vocabulary
  9. Words in connected text
5. Literacy Workstation Essential

What is a literacy workstation?

An area within the classroom where students work alone or interact with others, using instructional materials to explore and expand literacy.

Why a literacy workstation?

  1. It guarantees independence
  2. Models appropriate behavior
  3. A gradual release of responsibility
  4. Provides a risk free environment
  5. Proper independent work level
  6. Provides clear, explicit instructions

How to make a literacy workstation effective?

  1. Focus on practice and purpose
  2. Link to your teaching
  3. Slow down to speed up…..start slowly and build
  4. Balance process and product
  5. Less is more…keep materials to a minimum
  6. Use novelty…try one new thing at a time
  7. Simplify... if it takes longer for you to make it than it does for the children to use it instructionally then don't do it!

What are the kinds of workstations?

  1. Computer workstation
  2. Listening workstation
  3. Puzzles and games workstation
  4. Buddy reading workstation
  5. Drama workstation
  6. Poetry workstation
  7. Pocket chart workstation
  8. Creation workstation
  9. Science /social studies workstation

Hands-On Activities

  1. Making/creating games
  2. Playing the games
6. The Whole School Approach Essential

Building a Supportive Learning Environment: The School at Large

Define the School Mission

  1. School values and principles
  2. Community involvement

Change Requires Time and Persistence

  1. Long term goals
  2. Short term goals

School and organizational structure - who's who and level of responsibility

The Professional Learning Community

  1. Teachers support and share
  2. Mapping curriculum for continuity
  3. Student performance expectations

Accountability and Recognition

  1. Teacher-teacher feedback
  2. Observation and support

Classroom Activities and Community Meetings

  1. Form an ad hoc committee to discuss pressing issues, plan fundraising or organize a community gathering to celebrate just for fun.
  2. Implement the school spirit reading program.
  3. Create a school chant - personalize your pledge to learning and growing in your school.
7. Early Childhood Essential

This is a preparatory program for primary caregivers (in particular mothers) and younger children who have not yet started school.

  1. A value is placed on the fact that the parent is the child's first and most influential teacher.
  2. Building a bridge between home and school in the early years heightens awareness of school issues and actively promotes school involvement.
  3. Effective tools and techniques are taught for parents on how to discipline with kindness and firmness, which is neither punitive nor permissive.
  4. Work with and teach parents who love their children, but lack tools to effectively parent for today's world.
  5. Early literacy and communication skill promotion and the value of long lasting education.