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Teacher To Teacher

Let students take the wheel sometimes

In my work as a 10th-grade social studies teacher, I’ve found that fostering student agency — allowing students some choices and control over how their day goes — increases engagement. 
Here are some ways that a classroom teacher can encourage student agency in the classroom. 


Collaborative roles key with small groups

The Department of Education has recently encouraged special education and integrated co-teaching teachers to prioritize targeted small-group instruction, including station teaching. That shift has meant that I’ve had to learn new classroom management and pedagogical strategies for my 12:1:1 special education class for 3rd- and 4th-graders.

Three informal assessment options

Sometimes, informal assessments can be more meaningful and less anxiety-provoking than traditional tests for students. Three informal assessments I use in my high school chemistry classes are 10-Point Bingo, a whiteboard activity and “I Can” statements. 


Make connections with hexagonal thinking

How do you teach elaboration, “adding on” and targeted vocabulary without making student discussion feel forced? Enter hexagonal thinking.

Building relationships with your students

I have developed five simple strategies for building genuine and affectionate relationships with my students quickly and efficiently early in the school year.

Linking home and school

Our students, especially those at diverse schools, need to feel like they belong in the school community. I developed a museum unit for my 4th-graders that embeds lessons on cultural awareness into our social studies and writing curricula.