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School Dreams

Woa!  I just woke up from a dream where I was a student going to school in the 1920s.  The dream was so powerful that it has stayed with me, and I decided to turn it into a blog post.

What made the dream so sensational?  The teaching was:

  • Experimental.  Since it was the 20’s, I had the pleasure of speaking to former slaves about what the experience of forced servitude was like.  As I sat hearing their stories, I couldn’t stop listening because their narratives were so fascinating.
  • Kinesthetic.  At one point, I was actually being taught how to shoot a gun.  Instead of learning in a classroom, my teacher was showing me how to shoot outside by firing at trees miles away (I know – it makes no sense but it’s a dream).  Being able to hold the gun made the experience and the learning far more real.
  • Relational.  I loved how close I felt to my teacher.  She clearly cared about me and my learning style.  At one point, she mentioned that she had seen me looking at another student’s paper while taking a test.  When I explained that I had been distracted and was just looking around the room, she didn’t hold my wandering eyes against me because she knew how difficult it was for me to stay focused as a student.
  • Exciting. In my dream, I remember being so excited to go to school that I actually ran with my friends there.  We were waiting at our bus stop and decided to jog so we could get there earlier.
  • Important.  The biggest difference between my dream and reality was the importance that was put on the actual learning.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get enough learning, and the content I was absorbing was so important to me.
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Normandy Invasion Lesson Plan

Battle of Normandy Teaching Plan
David Qua
May 16, 2016

Objectives:

  • Introduce students to the Battle of Normandy
    • Students will leave class understanding the:
      • Basic details of the Battle of Normandy
      • Difficulties faced by American G.I.s
      • Geography of the Normandy region
  • Skills
    • Group-work
    • Writing
    • Map reading

Steps:

  1. Before class: Write following on board:
    1. Name Tags
      1. Write your first and last name on the front of the card
      2. On the back, where there are lines, answer the following two questions:
        1. What is a fact you have previously learned about the Battle of D-Day/Battle of Normandy, which took place during World War 2?
        2. What is your favorite thing about Rashi School?  Why would I want to teach here?
    2. Draw how you want desks and groups to be arranged
      1. 3 groups
    3. Arrange desks into 2 blocks
    4. Load Student Google Doc onto computers
  2. As students enter class – have them create name/freewrite cards
  3. Begin class with brief overview
    1. 0-10 minutes – Introduction, Groups, Directions
      1. Collect cards
      2. Hi – my name is David Qua
      3. Type abv. notes onto google doc
      4. Using map – give students additional information if need/if time
      5. Divide class into 3 groups
      6. Go over directions
        1. As a group, watch video
        2. When finished, answer the questions
        3. If you have extra time, answer map questions
    1. 10-30 minutes – Stations
      1. The German Perspective
      2. A G.I.’s Perspective
        1. If time – Map Activity
    2. Last 15 minutes – Journaling – “Into the Jaws of Death”
      1. Go over directions:
      2. If extra time, have students read off the beginning of their journals to provide examples of what can be expected
      3. While they are working – “Boy that’s really good.  Would you mind sharing that with the class”

Information about Battle of Normandy (Generated by student)

  • It was meant to be on June 5th, 1944 but it was delayed because of the weather to June 6th
  • The Allies attacked via 5 beaches, Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, Omaha
  • Allied Troops invading France landed at 7:00 (people coming in by boat)
  • 23,000 paratroopers landed around 12:00
  • Out of the 5 beaches, the most casualties took place at Omaha (2,000)
  • The German commander, Erwin Rommel had taken his one vacation day in 6 months, spending it in France (w/his wife), when the attack took place
  • One of the reasons that the Germans couldn’t respond is because Hitler was sleeping, and they didn’t want to wake him up

Station I: The German Perspective

Directions:

  1. Click on the link above and watch the following clip of Battle of Normandy from the German Perspective.  As you are watching, answer the following 2 questions.
    1. What “facts” were presented about the Battle of Normandy?

 

Group A’s Facts

  •  

 

Group B’s Facts

    1. How does the German depiction differ from what you expected?
  •  

 

Group A’s Facts

  •  

Group B’s Facts

  •   

Map Activity

 

Directions: If you finish your activity early, please answer the following questions using the map below:

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  1. How many U.S. divisions took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy? Name them:

 

  1. How many British divisions took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy? Name them:

 

  1. How many Allied divisions in total took part in the invasion?

 

  1. What beach did the Canadians assault?

 

  1. Which two major Normandy towns had the Allies captured by June 12?

 

  1. Approximately how many miles is the length of the entire invasion area?

 

  1. To get from Normandy to Paris you must travel (direction).

 

  1. What geographical obstacle kept the 21st Panzer Division from attacking the Allies on D-Day?

 

  1. Which beach had the smallest Allied advance of D-Day

 

  1. Which town did U.S. Airborne troops capture?

 

  1. To get to London from Normandy you must travel (direction).

 

  1. Can you determine how many miles the Allied armada traveled across the English Channel? Explain:

 

Station II: A G.I.’s Perspective

Directions: Using your headphones, click on the link above and listen to the following clip containing the American Perspective.  As you are listening, answer the following questions:

  1. Click on the link above and watch the following clip of Battle of Normandy from the American Perspective.  As you are watching, answer the following 2 questions.
    1. What “facts” were presented about the Battle of Normandy?

 

Group B’s Facts

  •   

Group A’s Facts

  •   
    1. What obstacles did the American troops face as they stormed the beach at Normandy?

Group B’s Facts

  •   

Group A’s Facts

  •  

Station IV: Journalling

Directions: Spend the remainder of class writing a journal entry from the point of view of an American service man during WWII.  When you insert a fact you have learned during today’s class, please underline it.

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EXAMPLE:

As the water from the Atlantic Ocean sprayed me in the face, I couldn’t believe how scared I was.  Sure, my buddies from The 1st Infantry Division had trained for this moment for nearly a year while stationed in England, but the explosions, which we couldn’t see over the top of the Higgins Boat but we could hear, scared me to death.  All around me, people we getting sick from the violent waves and throwing up all over the boat, but I was just scared.  The closer we got to shore the more I could hear the bullets slamming and bouncing off the armored front of the ship, and I knew that it was only a matter of time before the German machine guns and mortars were aimed in my direction.  I knew from the Colonel’s briefing that we were going against the was the 352nd infantry Division, but it really didn’t matter to me.  All I wanted to do was to get off the boat and do our job.

Additional Thoughts:

  1. If I knew the school abetter and had strong relationships with the students, I might have started off this lesson with a brief clip from Saving Private Ryan Clip showing the horrors of battle.
  2. If I had more tech, I would have broken down into more/smaller groups
  3. If I were to teach this next year – this lesson might serve as an introduction to the battle of Normandy.  I would spend the second day reviewing the map questions and learning about the geography of the Normandy region.  To extend the activity further, I would assign research projects where students learn about a topic in depth and shared their learning with their peers.  I would wrap up the unit with a kinesthetic activity that would be modeled on this fellow teacher’s lesson plan.

Two things –

  1. Feel free to steal this lesson.
  2. What could I have done better?

Thoughts about Responsive Classroom

Tomorrow, I am interviewing at a school where the Responsive Classroom approach is the cornerstone of their academic program.  I’ve worked in schools with Responsive Classrooms, and I thought I would spend a little time reviewing the RCA’s website to learn more about the program that I have heard so many accolades about in the past.

Here’s what I learned/was reminded about:

The approach is based on the premise that “how children learn is just as, or perhaps more, important as what they learn, and that academic success is inextricably tied to building social-emotional competencies.”  It’s really about creating an environment that leads to solid learning and good teaching.  As one teacher put it, “I know the Responsive Classroom works because I know that anybody performs to the fullest of their potential when they are in a supportive, engaging environment where they matter.

The research claims that the implementation of the Responsive Classroom approach will give students the social skills so that:

  1. Learning will improve in both reading and math; students will be more engaged in all subjects
  2. The climate of the school will improve by decreasing poor student behavior
    1. Improve students’ work ethics
    2. Decrease acting out due to academic frustration
  3. Lead teachers to improve the quality of their instruction and strengthen relationships between teachers and students   

Key Practices

  1. Daily Morning Meeting
    1. A time to prep for the day ahead
    2. Connect as a community
      1. Build relationships
    3. Begin day on a positive note
    4. Cultivate and strengthen students’ interpersonal skills
      1. It’s proactive in nature
  2. Proactive approach to discipline
    1. Based on calm, safe school environment
    2. Reduces time spent on discipline and increases time on task
      1. Six weeks of instruction to get the year off right
    3. Rules are created by the students themselves with logical consequences
    4. Punishment is not reactive
      1. Proactive behavior by teachers and students
  3. Positive teacher language
    1. “It’s all about our language” and focuses on positive vision
    2. Common language between homeroom and specials
  4. Interactive instruction through student choice
    1. Multimodal instruction
    2. Empowers students by letting them make their own choices

“What Responsive Classroom does is gives kids the grounding to be a productive and successful member of a classroom community so that they can more successfully engage academically.”  The goal here is to provide a foundation for good learning and teaching.

The Responsive Classroom is more than an approach to discipline for the classroom.  It benefits students outside of the classroom as well.  Since they feel better about themselves, they have more empathy and treat others more respectfully.  Students know that teachers know and trust them, and, as a result, students feel respected.

Some key words:

  • Community
  • Respect
  • Skill-based
  • Student-centered
  • Safe

While I have never had any formal RC training, so much of what I do as a educator is based upon the tenets of the program.  For me, it is all about building positive and respectful relationships with and between students to move closer to the ultimate goal of having 100% of the students learning 100% of the material.  Setting the tone with a morning meeting has been something I have practiced since my student days at Oak Grove-Coburn School because I know personally how important it is for students to get off to a good start.  My goal of having students feel known is a major part of this program largely because respect is reciprocal; when students feel respected, they tend to respect other students, teachers, and themselves more.  Perhaps most importantly, student choice is a central component of the program, and I believe it’s vital because it allows for students to use their strengths to learn the material.  When there is only one way of doing something in the classroom, there are students who miss out by not being able to use their strongest learning modalities.

I’m really looking forward to seeing RA in action tomorrow, yet I’m wondering what you all think of the Responsive Classroom approach.  If you’ve used it in your classroom, how has it helped you become a better teacher and improved the experience for your students?

Thoughts?

Souces

Next Year – Let’s Do This!

With time on my hands, I’m finally getting trained as a Google Educator (finally), dive back into the Twitter universe, and spend more time cogitating by writing articles for my blog.  The beautiful thing about doing all of this thinking is that I have had tons of ideas that I’m dying to try out for next year.  So to make sure I don’t forget them, I’m going to start a online blog post to list off  ideas and tasks that I will make a reality next year in my classroom.

  1. I’m going to take a page out of Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset and instead of giving students grades below a B I’m going to write “not yet” to let them know in a positive way that they have still have something to learn.
  2. I’m finally going to go paperless.  For years, ever since working at Beaver Country Day School, I’ve been moving more towards digital means of having students keep track of their work and submitting their assignments to me.  However, next year I’m going to make it my mission so that all students are able to keep their work and submit it electronically.
  3. I’m going to use CrashCourse.com more.  Kids love it and so do I.
  4. If I teach English, I want to find a way of diagramming sentences electronically. Doing it on paper can be quite boring, but I really find value in having students label the parts of speech kinesthetically to draw out and label the grammar within the sentences that they write.  (Anyone have any good suggestions?)
  5. Ever since visiting Dan Welty’s physics class, I have made an effort to do more flipped learning in my own classroom. Next year, I want to continue that process so students and I will create videos for each other with the goal of improving the content and increasing the learning.  I think a good goal would be to flip 25% of my class.
  6. Tweet authors of books we are reading in class to see if we can get out shout out!
  7. In addition to the A to Z reading challenge, have students read sixty books per year.  To help them reach their goal, have students read aloud at least once per month to younger kids.  https://sixtybooks.com/
  8. Use primary sources more – especially graphic or visual sources
  9. Utilize Google Sites for Education to keep students and parents up to date on what’s happening in my classroom
  10. Have students ask questions about homework and content using Google Hangouts.

Ted Talk of the Week

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June 20, 2016: Kang Lee: Can you really tell if a kid is lying?

  • I loved this short little Ted Talk, which starts out with a great joke:
    • I’m going to tell you a story from Mr. Richard Messina, who is my friend and an elementary school principal. He got a phone call one day. The caller says, “Mr. Messina, my son Johnny will not come to school today because he’s sick.”  Mr. Messina asks, “Who am I speaking to, please?”And the caller says, “I am my father.”

  • Here is an interesting fact that shows that lying is a natural part of growing up.
    • We found that regardless of gender, country, religion, at two years of age, 30 percent lie, 70 percent tell the truth about their transgression. At three years of age, 50 percent lie and 50 percent tell the truth. At four years of age, more than 80 percent lie. And after four years of age, most children lie. So as you can see, lying is really a typical part of development.
  • Finally – lying involve vital skills such as mind-reading sbility and self control
    • So if you discover your two-year-old is telling his or her first lie, instead of being alarmed, you should celebrate –because these are skills that allow children to function well in our society.  

May 20, 2016 Carol Dweck: The Power Of Believing That You Can Improve

  • For the record – I think Carol Dweck walks on water.  Her “Growth Mindset paradigm is the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy
  • Dweck begins by explaining the difference between Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
    • Growth Mindset is the idea that students can always improve and learn no matter what they’ve done previously
      • even their defeats give students new insight into how to do better
      • ignites the learning process
    • Fixed Mindset is a paradigm where students believe that they can’t improve and their grades represent their abilities
      • throws cold water on the fire of learning (too much???)
  • To change this mindset, we, as teachers, need to challenge students in ways where they ultimately will be successful.  According to Dweck, these challenges and victories not only help students gain confidence and change their mindsets, but also help their brains to grow new neurons (neuroplasticity) and become more functional as a result
  • Favorite part: Dweck’s suggestion that instead of writing a bad grade, like a D, on a student’s work, we should write, “Not Yet!

April 14, 2014 Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to Spark Learning (suggested by @weltyteaching)

Ramsey

  •  Rule number one: Curiosity comes first. Rule number two: Embrace the mess. And rule number three: Practice reflection. 
  • But if instead we have the guts to confuse our students, perplex them, and evoke real questions, through those questions, we as teachers have information that we can use to tailor robust and informed methods of blended instruction.”
    • Love the word “taylor”because it means designing instruction to fit each student.

April 9, 2014  Peter Doolittle: How Your “Working Memory” Makes Sense of the World

doolitle

  • A great talk about working memory impacts success in school.  The second part of the talk explains strategies for strengthening AWM.
  • Now, the final piece of this, the take-home message from a working memory capacity standpoint is this:what we process, we learn. If we’re not processing life, we’re not living it. Live life. Thank you.”

December 14, 2013 Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

  • This talk led to an epiphany, which I explored in greater detail on my blog, about the power of technology to improve the quality of my teaching by using simulations and the Flipped Classroom model.
  • McGonigal’s point is this: “When we play a game, we tackle tough challenges with more creativity, more determination, more optimism, and we’re more likely to reach out to others for help.”

December 8, 2013 Salman Khan: Let’s Use Video To Reinvent Education

Kahn

  • This fantastic talk explored the power of online educational videos and exhorted teachers to consider “flipping” the classroom so content is delivered at home to improve the quality of instruction at school.
  • Bill Gates,’ at the end of the talk, summed it up best, “I think you just got a glimpse of the future of education.”

December 1, 2013 Geoffrey Canana: Our Failing Schools. Enough Is Enough

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  • This talk examines the failure of our public schools, why it happens, and what we should do about it.

November 23, 2013 Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

elizabeth-gilbert-oprah1

  • This  talk took a while to get going.  For the first ten minutes, I wasn’t quite sure how Gilbert’s speech connected to education, but by the end, it had inspired me.
  • Gilbert argues that cultivating creativing can be difficult when you believe it begins with you.  She relates how challenging writing is when she feels pressured to write something as good as Eat, Pray, Love.  So, Gilbert tries to view creativity the way the Greeks and Romans saw it, as a capricious ghost-like entity that either gifts or withholds genius.  Knowing that she isn’t the only one responsible calms her and helps to sustain the writing process.
  • The same can be said of our students.  When students believe learning is solely dependent on their intellects  and abilities, then the pressure, which has the potential to produce tremendous anxiety, falls  solely on their shoulders.  Students who don’t immediately master new skills or concepts often will blame themselves, which has the potential to dampen their desire to learn.  While I’m a big believer in students being responsible for their work, I also believe, as teachers, we need to do everything in our power to help our students experience success.  If teachers are able to convince students there are many factors that contribute to learning, it takes the pressure off of the students, and they are more present for learning.

November 16, 2013 Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover

Meyer

  • While I’m not a math teacher, I loved Dan’s talk and found it to be incredibly applicable to improving the teaching of history.  As educators, we need to create lessons that force students to think critically and present them with opportunities to become “patient problem solvers”.
  • Favorite line: “Can I ask you to please recall a time when you really loved something — a movie, an album, a song or a book — and you recommended it wholeheartedly to someone you also really liked, and you anticipated that reaction, you waited for it, and it came back, and the person hated it? So, by way of introduction, that is the exact same state in which I spent every working day of the last six years.”

November 10, 2013 Sir Ken Robinson is the most most popular Ted presenter.

Robinson

  • His humorous speeches not only amuse but inspire.  If I were to chose the person I would most like to come to a faculty meeting, it would by Robinson hands down.  You owe it to yourself as an educator to listen  to his words of wisdom.  Enjoy!
    • Do School’s Kill Creativity (2007)
      • This talk, which is the most single listened to speech on Ted, focuses on why teaching creativity is more important than teaching content.
    • Bring On The Learning Revolution (2010)
      • Middle school doesn’t have to be the worst three years of a person’s life.  If schools provide students with opportunities to explore their passions and determine what makes them special, the middle school experience is radically altered and students benefit.
      • The story about the fireman is beyond description
    • How To Escape Education’s Death Valley (2013)
      • Differentiation makes all the difference

November 3, 2013 Jacob Barnett: Forget What You Know

Bernett

  • “For the next twenty-four hours, don’t learn anything!  You are not allowed to learn anything for the next twenty-four hours.  However, what I would like you to do… is to go into some field… and think about that field instead of learning about that field.  And instead of being a student of that field, be the field.”  That’s great advice.

October 27, 2013 Sugata Mitra: The Child-Driven Education (2010) and Build A School In The Cloud (2013)

Mitra

  • Both of these talks are absolutely fantastic.  They are funny, insightful, and will fill you with hope!  Both talks focus on what happens when teachers get out of the way and let children do what they do naturally – learn!

  • Favorite line: “If children have interest, then education happens.”

October 20, 2013 Ian Gilbert

Gilbert

  • “As soon as you say to a child ‘O.K. You think this.  Tell me why you think it?’  It’s like opening a bit of window in their heads.  And you see their thinking in action in a way you don’t get from the traditional teaching model of I’m going to give you my ideas, I’m going to give you my thoughts.”

October 13, 2013 Taylor Mali: What Do Teachers Make

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  • I remember hearing this poem for the first time nearly six years ago.  It made me feel proud to be a teacher and affirmed the life-changing nature of our profession.

October 6, 2013 Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership

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  • Lollipop moments are why I got into teaching.  How about you?

Other Great Ted Talks – Honorable Mentions

Due

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I thought I would start out a new feature on the blog that for now I’m calling My Favorite Apps.   These apps are essential not only for teachers but also for students as well.  

Due, which has been around for awhile, is an incredibly powerful app that literally serves as my Prefrontal Cortex.  Here’s how it helps:

  • Alarm settings remind me of upcoming events of tasks I have to do at certain times:
    • Weekly faculty meetings
    • Calling a parent after school
    • Meeting with a fellow teacher to talk shop
    • Weekly Twitter Chats
  • Reusable Timers help keep me on track during class
    • 3 minute – Class Transition TImer
      • A great way to make sure class always starts on time
    • 5 minutes – Class Break
    • 10 minute – Student Presentation
    • 20 minutes – Silent Reading
      • The best part about these timers is that I can display them on my whiteboard using AirPlay so students can see them.
  • Repeating reminders – These help me remember tasks that often slip my mind.  You can set them so they repeat automatically on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
    • Letting a student out early at the end of each class so he can get a head start at his locker
    • End project five minutes early to allow for students to get started on homework
    • Take out the recycling each Friday
    • Pass back the papers during Writer’s Workshop each Monday

Other apps have similar features, but Due makes it incredibly simple to set a reminder.  It has a few other features, which for me set it apart from others.  I can:

  • Set alarms of different lengths, so not only do I not miss the alarm but I can tell different alarms apart without having to take my iPhone out of my pocket.  I can even create my own alarms where I set the beat and the length (I even have one for my wife that’s 30 seconds long so there’s no chance I’ll end up in the dog house.).
  • Hit the snooze button with a persistent reminder.  Let’s say an outstanding Harkness discussion is going on.  I can hit the snooze button for 5 minutes but when the time is up, the reminder will remind me every minute until I turn it off.  It makes it nearly impossible to forget things.  For me, this is a godsend.

This app can be a game changer for students because it can:

  • Be used on different platforms (iPad, iPhone)
  • Help students get to classes on time – students can load their schedules into the app so they are never late again.
  • Remind the student who always forgets his history text to stop at his locker to grab it before going home.
  • Prompt a student to turn in her homework at the start of each class.
  • Serve as a nightly homework planner.
  • Set limits for time spent working on a certain assignment.  I will often tell my students that I want them to work on an assignment for 20 minutes.  Due helps in three ways:
    • For students who often finish early – Due urges them to keep going and can improve the quality of their work.
    • For students who have trouble keeping track of time – Due helps them stay in control.
    • For students with perfectionist tendencies or anxiety issues – Due lets them know when it’s time to put the work away.
  • Urge a student to stop at the nurse for her meds before heading out to recess.
  • Remind students to redo an incomplete assignment.
  • Turn in a field trip form to the office.
  • Help students with executive functioning weaknesses to stay of tasks and keep them in control of time.

Perhaps the only downside to Due is the $4.99 price tag, but I have found it to be a good use of five bucks because, as I said, it’s like having a butler in your pocket.  Give it a try and let me know what your think.

Due – Homepage

Reducing Anxiety in the Classroom

This week I’ve been cogitating about the role that anxiety plays on students and their learning. I spend my days working in small tutorial groups where there is no question that for many children, anxiety as it relates to school and anxiety in general are serious issues. However, I don’t tend to think of the role anxiety plays and how it can affect learning, so I thought I would blog about it to get my thoughts down on paper to better delve into the topic and think of ways I can better support my students.

Here’s a short list of the major causes of anxiety in students:

  • previous academic struggles
  • poor self-confidence
  • internal pressure – “I need to ace this test” or “I’ve got to learn this!”
  • external pressure – both parent and teacher
  • lack of sleep or hunger
  • Lack of trust or poor relationship with teacher

There is no question that stress impacts and impedes learning. Not only does anxiety make it harder to focus, but it also makes directions more difficult to understand. An article in this month’s ADDitude Magazine summed it up this way:

“We are equipped with the ability to perceive threatening events in our environment (stressors ), and to respond in ways that keep us safe. A saber-tooth tiger at the mouth of the cave meant trouble for our ancestors” just like a difficult and seemingly impossible math problem can for our students. “Faced with real or perceived fear, we respond by fighting or fleeing.” It’s that fight or flight response that can lead to irritability which impacts group work and may damage vital relationships with students. If all a student wants to do is get out of class, there is no way he can learn or memorize anything well.

Luckily, there are several strategies we can utilize as teachers to help our students deal with the stress they face during the school day. Perhaps the most important is placing an emphasis on building positive, constructive, and safe relationships between teachers and students: The more a student trusts a teacher and knows that he or she is respected, the less students will worry in class and the more accepting they will be of calming feedback. It’s also vital for teachers to create a safe learning environment where the members of the class and the teacher respect each other and their learning styles because students will feel more comfortable and experience less anxiety. As a result, they are better able to attend and process instruction, assignments, and feedback. Additionally, it’s helpful to allow students to utilize their strongest learning modality: If a student learns best by participating in class discussion or drawing or writing ideas down, then opportunities for multimodal instruction should be given to all students to process information in a variety of ways. Conversely, expecting students to learn in unfamiliar ways will only heighten anxiety and make learning more difficult.

A recent article in Landmark School’s Spotlight on Language-based Teaching provided other fantastic ideas for reducing anxiety. They instructed teachers to create rituals and impose structure: I take this to mean – be predictable. If students know what to expect and if class seems familiar to him/her, anxiety will decrease. Also, having practiced a certain way of completing an assignment will make homework and in-class projects less stressful.

Furthermore, providing checklists will make students more confidence and will lessen the stress that they will leave something important out. As Atul Gawande made wonderful clear in his bestselling book The Checklist Manifesto, even doctors use checklists to make sure they have completed all of their tasks during surgery. While writing a paragraph can seem to some like an easy task, to others it can be like brain surgery. Telling them exactly what you expect and providing them with examples of how to do it will not only help them to produce high-caliber work, but it will also give them the confidence to do it.

Thoughts?