Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What's Your Teaching Point?

A few years ago, I had the chance to visit classrooms in a New York City school. One of the things that I came away with was how the teachers made sure the students knew their teaching point.  I always had the teaching point on my lesson plan. I thought I was communicating that point to the students in my mini-lesson, but was I?  After that trip I kept asking that.  Lately, in another classroom I have been visiting back here in Indiana, I noticed that teaching point being shown to the students. Today, I want to share some ideas as to how teachers can be sure their students know what the teaching point of the lesson is for the day. 
It is important the students know the purpose of the lesson they are hearing. That works not just for reading and writing, but any other content area being taught. Telling the children right at the beginning of the lesson what is going to be taught, is a good start.  Putting that teaching point on a chart or over head, is another way. On the charts that I saw in New York, the teacher had the abbreviation: T Pt. beside the teaching point.
Looking at the charts that I am including in this blog, you will notice that these are anchor charts and are left up for several days. Students can refer back to the charts as the continue with the unit of study.
I am also including an anchor chart used in math. Notice that the teacher is referring to the students as mathematicians. This is to help student realize they have a part in the learning, too.
The classroom I have been working with in Indiana, uses the computer and Smart Board to project the teaching point. She uses that means to interact with the students. Telling the students the teaching point at the beginning of the lesson and then referring back to it again at the end, helps the students stay focused and understand what they are to be learning.

No matter which  method you use, be sure your students know what your teaching point is...don't just assume they know it!

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