Friday, September 23, 2011

The Power of the Genius Ladder

Okay so we have been doing the Genius ladder for several weeks now. I have been coming up with the Blah sentence and then of course the other ones also. Each time we spend a few moments with the kids working on each level. They add a new noun at the Blah level, they add their own adjective at the Spicey level and so on. This is all done orally and so we are getting many reps on grammar and good writing.

Just the other day, a student asks, "Are we ever going to be able to make our own Genius Ladder?"

Yes my friends...a student asking to do more work than what he has been doing! They want to write! Because of all the oral practice, they are now ready to write. Wow...teacher heaven.

My answer of course was, "We'll see...maybe in a couple of days." Inside I was excited because the kids all gave that low murmur of support when he asked.

We wrote their own the next day!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Three Star Homework...the Premier!

Homework traditionally has been a time for review of the work that was done in class. But let's face it, the kids usually don't bring it back and if they do it's done poorly...or not at all. With the WBT model of Three Star Homework, kids are motivated to do the work and the work that they are doing is high frequency work that is differentiated. WOW! Work that is motivating and will improve student work.

When I told my parents about this at Back-to-School-Night, they all felt like this was going to be great, for their kids and for them. (There is less haggling back and forth with this version of HW.)  One parent told me that her daughter would do the Three Star every night.

Later in the week when we were checking our homework, I asked that young lady about how it went. She said it was good, but I told her that I noticed she only did Two Star each night. I told her what her mom had said about her doing Three Star every night. She looked at me and said, "Mr. Rekstad, that's what my mom would do." And that was it...we'll see what happens next week!

Power to the Teacher!