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Showing posts from July, 2016

Beginner's Guide: Focus Walls in The Classroom!


"Yes!" "You can do it!"
"Great going, Micah!" 
" Stay focused!"

Nothing is more inspiring for students than to hear words of encouragement and support from their teachers. As an educator, I would say that our students need a learning environment that motivates them by communicating clear goals and a vision of success. An easy tool for accomplishing this is to designate an area in the classroom as a 'Focus Wall'.

What is a Focus Wall? A focus wall is simply an area in the classroom that you choose to display curriculum to direct students in terms of key learning targets for the upcoming week.  Tweet: It is like a vision board that keeps your students continually logged in towards their learning goals! Specific themes, topics, skills and strategies are posted on the walls and are great for launching and reviewing units.

Where Can I Place it?You make any central point in the classroom a focal point, however, …

Close Reading is Not New!

When it comes to the teaching of reading, history does repeat itself.  A close look at the teaching of reading today shows yet another paradigm shift in which the text is once again the authority in the classroom.  The text is a work of art full of meaning, waiting to be read and understood by its readers. Essentially, the reader must be able to dig deep to find meaning and to be able to truly appreciate the text.

I believe that close reading is as the term suggests, a very thorough, purposeful scrutiny of the work of art so that the reader understands the author's intention without directly asking him. In other words, the text carries its own value. It involves the rereading of the text, first to get a sense of what it says, to focus on how it actually works, then to determine its relation to other texts or to the reader's own experiences.

Close reading, as a strategy, is not new! It has been around for decades but under a different label (New Criticism).  When we perform a …