Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ITIP of the Week: Increase Student Engagement with THINK-INK-LINK



Last week, I told  you about the Yes/No/Why and how it can be a powerful writing/engagement activity. This week, I am going to tell you about its close relative...


Here are the rules for THINK/INK/LINK

1. Provide a prompt. Give the students something to write about.

2. Students SILENTLY think for a given amount of time. I usually use 30 seconds to a minute and students cannot write anything. This is time to just wrap their brains around their answer.

3. Students write their answer in NO MORE than TWO COMPLETE SENTENCES using ACADEMIC LANGUAGE. Again, I give them no more than a minute. Set a timer on both this and the second step!

4. Students then get up from their seats, find a partner, and take turns reading their answers VERBATIM!

Here's the rationale for this simple, yet powerful, activity:

• Students are writing! Not everything has to be an essay or long journal entry.

• Two sentences using academic language are far more powerful than a page of rambling slang, yes?

• Students are learning to think before they act. We could all learn from this.

• By having them read their answers verbatim, students are then SPEAKING in complete sentences. This doesn't happen too often, does it?

• By moving out of their seat and finding a partner, blood is moving from their caboose back up to their brain.

Try it out! I know you will love the results!

Have a happy day!

Monday, August 18, 2014

iTIP of the Week: Increase Student Engagement With "Yes-No-Why"

Hi all!

Engagement = Students writing, speaking, creating, DOING!

This is how we define engagement in my school district. It can also be defined as "visible learning." Engagement has been, historically, defined incorrectly as politeness. As long as they are looking at me, they are engaged.

Now, we know better!

Every week, I will be offering some simple and effective techniques that will help increase student engagement in your classroom. Let's get started with...


1. Pose a debatable Yes/No question.

2. Provide "think-time" for the student to formulate their position. Allow no writing, no talking...just silent thinking. You choose the time allotment. Set a timer and stick to it!

3. Have the students write their answer in no more than 1-2 COMPLETE sentences. Give them about a minute to write. Again, set a timer and stick to it!

4. Students Pair/Share their responses. Have them read their answer VERBATIM! This can be with a shoulder partner or have them walk around the room to find a partner. You decide what works best for your situation.

By having them write in complete sentences and then share their responses verbatim, you are getting them to speak in complete sentences. This is something they don't do often. Writing is also visible learning!

This technique can work in any classroom, promotes writing across the curriculum, and puts them at the upper level of Bloom's Taxonomy. By having the "why" component, the activity automatically becomes an evaluation question. 

Give it a go!

Have a happy day!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Google Classroom How Tos

Hi all!

Here is my playlist for my instructional videos on using Google Classroom. Enjoy!

And here is my Slidedeck, if that is more your style...