Saturday, July 28, 2012
How do they work?
Let's begin with Teach-Ok. In this technique, students are activating the seeing, saying, hearing, and doing parts of their brain. For this activity, everyone has a partner. The teacher's job is to present a small amount of information, making sure to use words and gestures. Then, the teacher claps two times and says "teach." The students will then clap two times and say, "ok" as they turn to teach their partner. While the students are teaching, the teacher is walking around to monitor.
If you notice that one student in the pair is doing all of the talking (which happens a lot in younger grades), you can implement the Switch! technique. The teacher says "Switch" and the students parrot "Switch!" before switching speakers. This makes sure both partners have a turn talking and gesturing.
Hands and Eyes is another simple approach to making sure students are ready to learn. I used to call this the "ready position." It is a follow up to Class-Yes. The teacher says "Hands and Eyes" and the students repeat "Hands and Eyes" while folding their hands in their lap and looking at you.
Finally, the Mirror technique is another teaching technique to get students involved in learning. The teacher says "Mirror" and the students respond "Mirror." As you are gesturing, the students mirror your gestures.
What does the research say?
For the activities above, four brain activities are involved, seeing (visual cortex), saying (Broca’s area), hearing (auditory cortex) and doing (motor cortex). Keeping a high level of energy throughout keeps students motivated and excited to learn.
What does this mean for first grade?
Using these consistent strategies lets students know what to expect and keys them in for learning time. I have used a lot of "shoulder partners" and "turn and talk" moments in my classroom. The kids love having that time to share. I never thought of having them repeat the learning as well. I think this will help engage my students and solidify the concepts they are learning throughout my teaching time.