Youtube Search n’ Review: Lesson Plan Example

confirmation kittooseA Youtube Search n’ Review is a great way to start a class. It’s interesting for the students, and it buys you time. Sip your coffee and clear your head while they work!


INSTRUCTIONS to CLASS

1. Do a YOUTUBE SEARCH on the topic of “Confirmation Bias” or “Confirmatory Bias.”

2. Watch TWO videos (must be under 4 mins, each). Use headphones. If you don’t have any, use the headphones in the bin in the back of the class.

3. After watching, in your class notes,

A) explain confirmation bias in your own words.

B. Give the video a Grade (A thru F) in TWO categories. Category 1: how clearly it explained it. Category 2: How fun it was to watch.

C) explain why you graded it this way.


Then, discuss.

The Calendar and the Template: The Batman and Robin of Lesson Planning and Presenting

batmanThis post was originally featured on Thought Partners,a blog for educators, hosted by the excellent classroom behavior management app, Class Dojo.


The hardest thing about lesson planning is the blank page.

And the hardest thing about starting class: when students enter the room, unless you make it so, your classroom is a blank page. Sure, you have posters on the wall, and you’re midway through a unit.

But unless your posters and unit are as interesting as whatever the students were talking and thinking about in the hallway on the way to class (and let’s face it, to most students, it’s not), the students walk in the room with their own agenda. Their agenda is: try not to do anything.

The good news is that most students, being social beings, will step into line as class begins, even if you’re not playing your A game. The better news is that if you’ve set up class effectively, the span of time between “blank page” and “being productive” can be shortened.

How do you get students to get into gear? How do you reduce the behaviors that make it hard to start class? How do you get students thinking, quiet, and productive — reviewing the themes of the class —while you take attendance? How do you organize your lesson planning workflow so you never forget to include essential components?

The answer is the same for all these: lesson plan with a template, and make the lesson plan available to students upon entering class.

There are low-tech and hi-tech ways to do this; allow me to share a few, and their pros and cons.


Hi-Tech — Editor’s Choice: Google Calendar

By far, my favorite way to present the days work, including the vital “first thing work” that gets students quiet and engaged for 5-10 minutes is a shared Google Calendar. While many schools have a Learning Management System that allows teachers to post their lesson plan for the day, I often find that these LMS calendars similar to, well, the free email that comes with your Cable Internet – you know: lmaluddite@Glopast.com. It works. But the tool doesn’t get updated or improved or work well across the most common devices like Google Calendar does.

I begin the year, during the first week of orientation, teaching students how to bookmark the shared class Google Calendar from a laptop, and even a smartphone/tablet.

Each day, as students enter the room, they open their tablets, phones, or laptops and see the entire day’s lesson plan. It always begins with First Thing Work, and ends with Homework and students I need to meet with. For a detailed description of the various elements built into each day’s template, I invite you to check out A Template For Change – And Workflow.

Additional Benefits:

  • Unlike some other class calendars, a student can open the class Google Calendar integrated with their own Google Calendar. As a result, if they have already begun using Google Calendar for their own lives, they can easily keep track of classes they missed and the lesson plan, homework, and announcements for that day – on the same calendar they check which day they have Disney Musical Club, their Jai Alai tournament, and their family trip to Walla Walla.
  • If you make a mistake that needs correcting in class – the link to an assignment is broken, say, or you decide you want to change the homework assignment — once you change it in the Google Calendar, it’s changed for everyone, instantly.
  • You have the same access to the class calendar from excellent smartphone apps that you do from your work laptop. This means you can COMPOSE YOUR LESSON PLAN ON GOOGLE CALENDAR! I suggest you combine the calendar with a Template – to keep your thinking organized. For more on lesson planning with Templates, I invite you to read: How Not To Cook From Scratch.
  • Referencing how you did something last year: I used to use Word for lesson planning, and by the end of the year, I had dozens and dozens of files – one for each day. I could never find anything. Now, when I want to see what I did last year, I can browse the classes on the calendar – or search for a word or phrase I know I used in my lesson planning.
  • Fast and Portable Lesson Plan Fixing and Peeking: You’re in class, moving around the students, keeping an eye on the playing field. Are you going to bring your laptop with you? No. What do you do when you need to check what’s next? You look at your smartphone, where the same Google Calendar is ready for you to look at. Or, on the way to class, you can adjust a prompt, fix a page number, or jot a note under: assignments. From your smartphone! While walking!

Cons:

Students need regular access to a device: school provided or “BYOD.”


Low-Tech — Editor’s Choice: Overhead Projector

Ah, the lowly overhead projector. It’s actually not so lowly. It has major benefits over the whiteboard (the other place you might write a Low-Tech lesson plan)

Mainly: with a teeny bit of planning and the flick of a switch, your lesson plan is ready. You can write your plans in advance, file them in a filing system, and refer to them as needed.

Benefits:

Besides being low tech and inexpensive, it’s easier to browse your lesson plans written this way, just as it’s easier to browse through a book than to click and click and click.

Rewarding students for checking the calendar: how do you reward students for coming to class, checking the calendar, and getting to work? ClassDojo! The first three students quietly working get a badge! The last two also get a badge!

FTWs are your BFF: Using “First Thing Work” to Get Off to a Good Start

party dont startThis post was originally featured on Thought Partners,a blog for educators, hosted by the excellent classroom behavior management app, Class Dojo.


“All beginnings are difficult.”

  • I remember the horrendous, red track-suit I wore on the the first day of sixth grade – and discovering that it did very little for my social cache.
  • I remember the anxiety of the first day of fifth grade; I was terrified I’d be assigned to the homeroom of the witchy-looking lady I’d seen in the hallways and I prayed I’d get the the tall, gangly guy. I got my wish, but it turned out that the tall, gangly guy was sort of mean. The witchy-looking lady, I later learned, only looked witchy.
  • I remember the first day of fourth grade, where our teacher introduced us to an octopus, pickled in a jar of formaldehyde. It lived in his supply closet. If he caught anyone messing with his supplies, he said, he’d lock us in there with “Octy.”

All beginnings are difficult.

This sentence, written in the Talmud, and which I learned on the first day of my Educator’s Program, helps us to anticipate difficulty – and to grasp that the emotional challenges that accompany new chapters are normative.

Indeed, every class, four years of study, and 12 years of teaching later, features difficulty — I am both nervous and excited. I am prepared but I never feel utterly prepared from my head to my toes: there is unknown in every class.

The first 10 minutes of class is the time when students are most unruly, you are most vulnerable, and where getting down to business is most challenging.

The solution is First Thing Work. It is posted in the class agenda, it’s ready the moment students walk in, and their job is to do it first. My job is to avoid distraction, set up my computer, take attendance, and check in quietly with students who have emergencies.


Here are a few models for FTW:

Model One: Looking Forward

  • Offer one or two prompts on a theme related to class. For example, in a class on Hamlet, the prompt may be: “Write about a time when you wrestled with a difficult choice, where the stakes were high. What happened? How did it turn out?”
  • Carefully compose prompts that the vast majority of students could answer.
  • Offer a second, more general prompt: “How do you deal with making a difficult choice?”
  • A third, more general prompt, might be, “What advice do you have for people facing a difficult choice?”
  • After writing on their choice of prompts, students then work on “Anchorwork.” Anchorwork is, as it sounds, work designed to keep students focused — and not to drift away from the environment for learning you and they have created for the last five minutes.
  • Anchorwork can be a drill, a fascinating article, a creative project they have been working on for a few weeks, or even a headstart on the homework.
  • After five to seven minutes of quiet writing, ask students to share their stories, ideas, and conclusions. Offer a few summary remarks, and move on to your lesson plan.
  • Additional benefits: many students have reported in my classes that these sharing sessions help them learn about their classmates’ lives – people they see and interact with every day but don’t always really know. This bonding contributes to a warm class atmosphere and to better learning.
  • Alternate model: use an online service like Polleverywhere.com (or jerry-rig a low-tech silent poll with dry-erase markers on the board – each student leaves a check next to their choice) to poll students about something in their lives.
  • Offer a second prompt where they assess or speculate about the results of the poll. For example: why did 75% of the class feel that Kale is the new broccoli? What factors might have contributed to this? What might lead to a shift in these results?

Model Two: Looking Back

  • Use FTW as a time for summative assessment. (For those watching at home, “summative assessment” refers to mini-quizzes you do during a unit to see how students are coming along, evaluate your strategy, plan interventions, etc.)
  • For example, use an online service like exittix.com or socrative.com to have students answer some simple questions about the homework and, through the miracle of the internet, see their scores immediately. Students who struggle meet in a seminar with you for clarification. Students who “pass” move on to the next step.
  • (If you need a low tech version, prepare answer keys students can grab when they are ready – or have them grade each others’ work).

Summary

No matter what you do with your FTW, the following principles apply:

  1. Students must be able to access it immediately upon entering the room, whether it’s online, in a binder on your desk, or rested in stacks in the students’ work area.
  2. It should be work students can do with minimal questions or clarification, since you’ll need that time to check attendance, set up your computer, launch ClassDojo, etc.
  3. It should not be work that needs grading. You have enough to grade as it is. That said, I do have colleagues who collect and grade them and, well, I trust their rationale.
  4. Teach students, at the beginning of the year, that FTW factors into their Student Ethic Modifier. If a student is slow on the draw one day – misses a class – or misses FTW due to tardiness, s/he doesn’t need to make it up, necessarily – as long as it is not a pattern. For more on Class Ethic Modifier, I invite you to my blog, “The Most Helpful 3% In the Class.”
  5. While bell work can, without much planning, make beginnings of class “less difficult,” with practice and effort, it can become an effective way to introduce ideas and materials for a powerful class experience.

“My name is Evan and I’m addicted to Koosh Balls.” — Using Speakers’ Lists and Koosh Balls for Discussion Facilitation.

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My name is Evan and I’m addicted to Koosh Balls.

This post was originally featured on Thought Partners, a blog for educators, hosted by the excellent classroom behavior management app, Class Dojo.


It all started with a peanut.

The teacher was offering salty, shelled peanuts to students who answered questions correctly. It was my turn and she asked me the question, something about verbs. Or adverbs. I blurted out the answer, and hands shot up; I watched in horror as the teacher called on another student to answer and gave him the peanut. My peanut.

The worst part was that the second I said the wrong answer, I realized my error…but I could do nothing about it. My peanut was gone.

Solution 1: The Speakers’ List

Years later, as an adult, I joined a housing cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin. The co-op system had meetings to decide everything: whether to invite an applicant to live in the house, how to invest our $10,000 budget windfall, whether to stop buying cheese.

Those meetings might have been nightmares (and indeed, sometimes they were), but one thing kept meetings orderly: when it was your turn to speak, one thing made sure your peanut was not given to someone else.

The speaker’s list.

If you wanted to speak, your name went on a list. When it was your turn, it was your turn. And you were not done speaking when someone else said you were done; you were done when you said, “pass.”

Was this abused? Sometimes. Rarely.

Mostly, it made people feel heard and seen and in control of their own words.

As a teacher, I quickly adopted this technique. I would ask a question, and instead of hands popping up and competing for my attention, I would simply assign numbers. No more than 7. The next student didn’t get to speak until the previous student said “pass.”

While this method isn’t not good for debate, per se, it’s very good for exploring ideas, which is most of what my class is about.

Solution 2: The Koosh Ball

Still, something was not complete. I was still serving as the speakers’ list keeper and calling on the next speaker, and sometimes, the list felt a little heavy handed. Furthermore, sometimes, I would ask a question and find that getting even one or two speakers was a challenge.

In a groovy book on leading “Rap Sessions,” written by somebody in the 70s with incredible, spherical hair, I encountered the idea of a talking stick. The person with the stick speaks. Everyone else listens.

But what if the next person to speak is 15 feet away? Could a talking stick be easy to catch, easy to throw, and soft, in case someone got hit in the eye? The answer is yes. If the stick is a Koosh Ball.

A tennis ball will bounce and roll, creating havoc. A hackysack is easy to throw but hard to catch. A bowling ball is too heavy. The perfect catchable, tossable, safe “talking stick” is a Koosh Ball.

They used to be made by , but you can buy them here for a few dollars each. I have one in my backpack at all times. And I only go through one or two a year.

Here are some additional benefits to using speakers’ lists and Koosh Balls:

  1. The Koosh serves as a visual reminder of who is speaking. This is one piece in the classroom-management-without-raising-your-voice puzzle.
  2. The Koosh gives you a way of correcting out of turn speakers in a concrete, non-judgmental way: “Make sure you’re only speaking when you have the Koosh” is much more clear than, “Stop talking out of turn.”
  3. Some students like to fidget with the Koosh while they speak, and while I also teach articulate speaking in appropriate contexts, the kind of dreamy rhapsodizing that comes with having something to fiddle with while speaking can actually allow for freer, more creative expression.
  4. While you can create a hybrid speaker’s list / koosh conversation, where the next person on the list gets the koosh, the koosh can also allow the currect speaker to choose who speaks next.
  5. Facilitation through speakers’ list and/or Koosh Balls allows you to step out of actively facilitating the discussion, allowing you to listen more deeply to the individual students and the class “gestaldt” — after six or seven students speak, then, offer your observations and conclusions. I call this “curation,” you can read more about “Curation As Discussion” here.
  6. Using a speakers’ list and Koosh Ball helps you focus on the quality of your questions. Fewer, clearer, open-ended questions are far more effective than many, guided, leading questions. When you get accustomed to asking questions that seven students can answer seven different ways, you’re developing your skills as a master teacher.

Conclusion: These two techniques are part of creating a class atmosphere that is lively without being frenetic, and where students feel seen and heard. Please share your tips and ideas for discussion facilitation below.

Q: You know what I’d pay you for a good idea?

A: Peanuts.


Oh, Shnikeys. It’s summer vacation. You’re a teacher. What should you be doing?

Who's ready for vacation?

Who’s ready for vacation?

This post was originally featured on Thought Partners, a blog for educators, hosted by the excellent classroom behavior management app, classdojo


You always remember your first: your first car, your first kiss.

This is called the primacy effect, and it’s the reason why I remember the first thing we learned, on my very first day of my educator training, fourteen years ago.

The sage advice we learned on day one?

“When you’re really tired out,” said our professor, “take a day off. Call in sick.”

Amazing. It’s amazing that in one sentence, on day one, the professor taught something deeply sobering, deeply compelling, and deeply affirming – all at the same time:

“Your job will be exhausting,” he was saying, “but showing up and doing it anyway isn’t enough. It’s not even correct. You need to be grounded, rested, and present. If you aren’t those three things, stay home and watch season one of Orange is the New Black. This is a higher calling, and you need to take care of yourself. YOU are the resource. Protect the resource.”

All that I read into my professor’s words. I have not called in sick more than three times in my career, but I know I could, should, and would, and most importantly, I know why.

Allow me to suggest that your summer is for the same thing. Getting your soul in shape for climbing the mountain ahead. Go on vacation somewhere beautiful. Learn to snorkel. Drink Mai Tais. Treat yourself like royalty.

You are a member of the Fellowship of the Ring at Rivendell, before heading into Murkwood. If that went over your head, skip it.

What else should you do over summer vacation? Here are my five suggestions!

1. Figure Out What You’re Teaching

If you’re a new teacher, you must accept the fact that you will not be “ready” for the school year, per se. Otherwise, there’s no reason this funny meme would exist.

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That said, emergency rooms teach us to conduct triage: taking care of the patient who, essentially, is bleeding the most.

Twice in my career, I started the school year unsure what texts we would study. As a new teacher, if you have unclarity about what you are teaching, that’s where the bleeding needs to be stopped. Make an appointment with your current or future supervisor, and see if you can get some commitments about what you will be expected to cover.

2. Block Out Your Units on a Calendar

A unit should contain: a day or two of an interesting introduction to the unit, several days for coverage, a summative (mid-unit quiz), and some sort of wrap-up project or assessment. Units are generally two weeks to a little over a month. Spend your summer designing as many of the projects / assessments as possible. You will be able to bang out a quiz at 11:30 the night before you give it. You will not be able to design a project at 11:30 the night before – although I have done it. And my students would be the first to say: they could tell.

One rule of thumb: every unit will go way too long. Be sure to put the least essential unit last. You might run out of time.

3. Get your tools ready

Going to use an iPad this year? A laptop cart? Googledocs? ClassDojo? You will have a harder time learning the apps, platforms, and websites at 5:30pm on a weekday after grading a pile of quizzes. Spend your summer learning (and exploring) new tools for teachers. Surf Edutopia.com for new ideas. Do NOT exhaust yourself learning every tool out there. Choose a few and practice.

4. Decide on your policies

How do you handle tardiness? Do you give extra credit? What behavior would lead you to send a student out of the room. What do you do if a student is passing notes? Surfing the web during class? How do you handle discipline? All these are complicated decisions with major implications for your classes. Don’t decide on the spot. Read and reflect on what your policies will be. If you’re not in your first year, reflect on what did and did not work.

Incidentally, for thoughts on the policies listed above and others, allow me to refer you to my blog entry: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known My First Teaching Year.

5. Cultivate Healthy Practices

It’s pretty hard to start doing yoga, exercising, journaling, or therapy. It’s even harder when it’s two weeks before midterms. Unfortunately, in schools, it’s always two weeks before some cataclysmic calendar event. Choose a couple of spiritually nourishing practices, and begin making a practice of the them while you have a teeny bit more time on your hands.

Those are my Five Tips for the Summer. I’d love to hear from you — what have you tried that made life just a little bit easier come September? Please comment below!

If I were a bell: (How to shush a classroom without shushing)

obamaContrary to popular belief, children do not plan to resist the beginning of class. Yes, they chat and talk and grab stuff out of each others’ hands, but they do that because they like it. It’s not because they want to obstruct you from launching your carefully crafted lesson plan.

Q: Why is it so difficult to get order and quiet at the beginning of class?

A: It has more to do with human social psychology and less to do with non-compliance.

Reason 1: Nobody wants to be the first to stop talking with their friends.

Whether adults or children, chatting before a program begins is normal, social behavior. Of course they will talk. You would, too. The teacher is shushing, but your neighbor in class just asked you if you want to hang out this weekend. Would you not say, “Cool, let’s go see a movie? What should we see?”

If anything, refusing to answer because the teacher is shushing is the antisocial behavior!

Reason 2: they don’t really hear you trying to start class. The room is noisy and they are focused on climbing the social ladder. Guess what, your frantic shushing isn’t cutting through.

Reason 3: Shushing is annoying. At some level, a person trying to shush you is annoying. Groups of people don’t reward shushers eagerly.

How do I shush without shushing?

You need a signal that is pleasant, clear, unmistakable, and free of judgment to create a classroom that is pleasant, clear, and free of judgment. Here are some choices. 1. Play groovy music at the beginning of class. When you’re ready to begin, start counting down from 10 and lowering the volume. When you get to zero, the music is silent. So is the room.

bell

Find a bell that’s small and cute with a pleasant sound. No need to make awful noise to achieve quiet.

2. Get a little bell that you ring to signal you’re ready to begin. This is perfect for “think, pair, shares” where students turn to each other and talk and you need to recover attention several times in a row. I have a bell and a thermos that makes a loud clank. I reserve the thermos for friday afternoons when the group is more rambunctious.

I’ve noticed that during class discussion, when students start having side conversation while another student is speaking, a few quiet. clanks on the thermos will shush the students without calling attention to them.

Not quite Pavlov, but close.

Not recommended: While many teachers and camp counselors like to use, “If you can hear my voice clap twice” (or the Hebrew School equivalent, “Sheket Bevakesha, HEY!”) I find that inviting groups to MAKE NOISE in order to GET QUIET is counter productive. But if it works for you, hey, it works for you.

Please share your favorite ways to SHUSH without SHUSHING!

(Below, Ms. Piggy demonstrates how NOT to shush).

Defending the first to speak

defenderYou just saw a movie with a group of people – and as everyone is walking to the exit, someone asks: “What did you think?”

You have a few options.

A) Blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

B) Hold back and get a sense of other people’s responses, formulate your ideas, and decide what your social goals are.

Isn’t it awesome to have a fully developed pre-frontal cortex? To be able to moderate your mouth, to make complex decisions about conversational cause-and-effect?

Teenagers: Brains are in not fully developed. Hormones are pretty darned developed.

By the time they realize what they want to say, they’ve already said the wrong thing.

Classroom Scenario

You offer a prompt or a question – perhaps on a controversial topic. The whole class is silent and still, except for one hand. You call on that brave soul.

The idea is half-baked. Maybe a little offensive.

A flock of hands now flies up. Students launch an offensive on the first speaker.

True, his idea was lacking. But after critique number two, nearly any student would become locked, defensive, and want only rescue himself from the onslaught.

What do you do?

After two or three critical comments directed towards a student, give him/her the courtesy of responding, clarifying what s/he meant, or defending his/her point.

Afterwards, it’s your job to highlight whatever grain of truth is in the idea. [Then, move on.]

Not only is it the fair thing to do, but also, it might allow him/her to invest less in protecting him/herself, and more energy in opening up to a new perspective.

He might even learn something.

 

 

 

 

Teacher Self-Assessment

exittixv2It takes a lot of guts to be a teacher.

It takes even more guts to ask the students for feedback on an activity. Every teacher wants to believe that they “rocked the house,” but it’s easy to convince yourself, in the absence of actual data, that an activity was fun and helped students learn because…well…it looked fun.

And it looked like students were learning the material. Recently, my students needed to learn a timeline for a history unit. I “gamified” the process by breaking them into teams, instructing them to design games which would incorporate essential information. The next week, we played them. Finally, they took the quiz. I don’t a 10 year longitudinal studies with a control group to determine if Gamifying the Timeline was objectively effective in teaching the material. But I am very interested in whether the students perceived it as fun and productive.

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Candy Land – but all intellectual.

It certainly looked fun.

But it was a 2 class investment, and if it didn’t meet the goals, well — I needed to know.

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Memory.

Was it actually fun? Did they learn anything?

exittix text

4 Choices, using the exitticket.org website

I used a non-graded “ticket” from exitticket.org  (an excellent platform for formative assessment) to ask:

  • Did you have fun?
  • Did it help you learn the material?

(Caveat: some students may have said “yes” because they prefer making and playing games to whatever they imagine the alternative to be – but I generally find that when they don’t like something, they’re happy to tell me. Very happy to tell me.)

Here’s what I learned about “Gamifying the Timeline.”

exittixv2The second question asked, “What would you do to make it better, next year.” From the 10 minutes it took to create the poll on exitticket.org, I gathered enough feedback to know that it was worth investing 2 classes into the activity and I gleaned 5 ways to make it more efficient next year.

What activities have you designed that you’d like fast-feedback on?

No, there are definitely stupid questions.

space cadetWe all know the cliche…”there’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Nice try, whoever wrote that.

That guy clearly never spent more than three days in a classroom, during which time he would have heard a wide array of totally stupid questions.

For the rest of us, here’s how to handle 3 common, annoying, innocent stupid questions.

Stupid Question 1.

The student’s question suggests that he/she didn’t do the homework.

Don’t: assume, and don’t shame a student. A student who didn’t complete his homework might have spent the night playing watching asdf movies on YouTube. Grrr!

BUT: he might have had a sister chasing him around the house with a croquet mallet. Who can do homework under such conditions?!

Do: Say, “It sounds like you could use a refresher on the text. It’s okay, we haven’t had class in two days. Take the next three minutes, look it over, and see if that answers your question.”

[At the end of class, you can ask the student if s/he meant to get a homework pass].

Stupid Question 2:

The student asks the same question that you just answered…like, 2 minutes ago!

Don’t: Say, “I just answered that!”

Again, shaming is linked to lowered self esteem and that is linked to decreased performance.

And probably more stupid questions.

Do: Be understanding. After all, you space out in faculty meetings, right?

Say, “I know, it’s been a long day. I’ll swing around to you during independent work time and clarify for you.”

or

Do: “I know we’ve been covering a lot of material. Can I ask a student to summarize that last point again, for me?”

Notice: Summarize for me. 

Not: for “Summarize for Johnny who is a Space Cadet. And who can’t read.”

Stupid Question 3:

The student asks a question that you cannot follow.

Don’t: Squint and make a “wha?! face.”

interested monkey

DO look interested, focused, and patient.

confsued monkey

DON’T let on that you cannot follow the freakin’ question.

Do: Maintain a patient and focused demeanor. Ask for clarification, one or two times. After each try, say, “It’s a bit hard for me to follow the question, can you try again for me?”

Do: After three times, say, “It’s still a bit hard for me to follow. Is that okay with you if we move on and maybe, during independent work time, we can see if we can unpack the question?”


 

Unconditional Positive Regard

Let’s be clear. There are stupid questions. But students are not stupid, even if they act like it, sometimes. Often.

It’s your job to buffer your students from shame, and to communicate the basic idea that age-appropriate “Space Cadetery” is okay and normal and can be fixed. If you can master this, then you have made your classroom a safe place for learning. This echoes the the Unconditional Positive Regard that Psychologist Carl Rogers said was essential to therapy. A client, like a student, only has the courage to grow and change if they feel like their teacher or therapist likes them. It’s as simple as that.

And as challenging as that.

Students might be told a dozen times a day, in various ways, that they are not good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough.

You’re here to make them feel valued. Even if you’re annoyed.

They’ll love you for it.

They may even ask you a smart question.


What about you? What are your favorite Smart Answers to Stupid Questions?