Sunday, September 23, 2012


One of the SDAIE strategies I have been learning about is called Nonlinguistic Representations.  The strategy entails using more than oral communication throughout a lesson. The theory is that the body stores knowledge in a linguistic and nonlinguistic forms.  The nonlinguistic forms are rooted in imagery.  So a teacher can put to use pictures throughout the classroom, hand gestures during lectures, using objects that support main concepts, and model behavior.  Teachers can also put to use things like graphic organizers with pictures in them to further a student's content vocabulary.  This is something I observed my coteacher using in his class, as well as a Spanish teacher I was interviewing regarding content vocabulary.

My coteacher uses what he calls a "toolkit."  This is something the students create using different need to know terms.  There are places for written work but also for examples and non-examples to provide the student with visual representation of what something means.  The teacher I interviewed told me that in her class she uses hand gestures for all new vocabulary and doesn't even have to define it because the gestures actually do that for her.  For example, when she teaches "to break" in Spanish, she makes two fists and makes a breaking movement.  Students respond to it and it reinforces what she is teaching.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Literacy Survey

This past week I gave my students a Literacy Survey to see what their literacy habits were like and how they could relate to the class.  Here is a link to the survey...

After reviewing the responses of some 25+ students, I learned that when asked "what do you spend most of your time reading?" many checked boxes for facebook posts and text messages.  Only a couple read fantasy, science fiction, magazines or internet articles.  Most students read for their own enjoyment less than3 hours per week.  There were other interesting observations but I would prefer to focus on just what students spend their time reading.  Given that not all students chose text messages as a form of reading for themselves, nor did all say facebook posts, but most said at least one of them.

Given this information, I think it would be fantastic to create a facebook group for the class to join.  We could take time in class to run through different parts of the group with the class, show the materials, post homework, create a calendar, and most excitingly, we can post thought provoking articles, links, images, and videos!  If students are reading posts simply because they are in the news feed on facebook, students may find various math and education concepts exciting and interesting.

When it comes to students' texting habits, I would like to start using to start eliciting student responses in the classroom.  This may be a useful tool to engage students, to show them something new and exciting, and connect with them using media that they are comfortable with.  Also I want to create a way that students can text questions to either a class email, blog, forum, or facebook group so that questions can be answered more quickly.

Whether using facebook, or text messaging, it will be great to be able to share useful exciting information that students can read about, get excited about, all through a media that they enjoy using.  Instead of having suggested readings for a math assignment, students can see posts on facebook and decide to watch them or not.  I think students will be much more likely to read something directed to them through facebook, rather than through a class syllabus.