Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Social Teacher: Class Discussion Strategies

I often share teaching ideas from our faculty on this blog under the tag Teacher Ideas, and lately I've been thinking about sharing all the cool teaching resources I see on the web and social media. So, here is the first post in a new series, The Social Teacher.

Cult of Pedagogy is the work of Jennifer Gonzalez, a self-described "teacher nerd." The site collects ideas for people who teach any subject at any level, and she includes both low-prep and high-prep strategies.

I found a recent post on strategies for classroom discussion very interesting. Gonzalez acknowledges a familiar phenomenon - the teacher asks a question like "What do you think of ____?" and a handful of the most extroverted students respond. But, of course, what about the quiet students, or the students who don't feel confident in their understanding of the material? Gonzalez shares a list of 15 classroom discussion strategies to make class time "more engaging, more organized, more equitable, and more academically challenging." I encourage you to read the whole list, but here are some of my favorites.

Hot Seat
"One student assumes the role of a book character, significant figure in history, or concept (such as a tornado, an animal, or the Titanic). Sitting in front of the rest of the class, the student responds to classmates’ questions while staying in character in that role."
Philosophical Chairs
"A statement that has two possible responses—agree or disagree—is read out loud. Depending on whether they agree or disagree with this statement, students move to one side of the room or the other. From that spot, students take turns defending their positions."
Snowball Discussion, aka Pyramid Discussion
"Students begin in pairs, responding to a discussion question only with a single partner. After each person has had a chance to share their ideas, the pair joins another pair, creating a group of four. Pairs share their ideas with the pair they just joined. Next, groups of four join together to form groups of eight, and so on, until the whole class is joined up in one large discussion."

Monday, October 26, 2015

Where We're From: Fall 2015

This fall, we are almost 1,000 students from 75 countries!Where are YOU from?
Posted by The English Language Center (TELC) on Monday, October 26, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Free Admission to PS1

Stephen Hosmer asked me to share this great news from our Long Island City neighbor PS1. According to the Times, museum visitors can prove their residency with a driver's license, identification card, or utility bill.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Save The Date: How LaGuardia Works

This year's professional development day will focus on How LaGuardia Works. There will be sessions on policies, procedures, and services at the college that pertain to all of us - students, faculty, and staff. More details to come soon! RSVP here.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Museum Resources For Educators

Teachers often plan a field trip to one of the city's many museums. This fall, why not consider using resources developed by a particular museum before visiting it with your class? Here's a sampling of some of the resources available at museums around town.

American Museum of Natural History
This museum's site has a vast section for educators, including field trip guides, lesson plans, and professional development offerings. The Structures & Cultures section in their curriculum collection offers some interesting and accessible materials for us non-scientists, including a unit called When Cultures Travel, which asks students to examine the migration histories of their own families and the cultural mixes of their current neighborhoods.