Clever, Quick Vocabulary Assessment

Recently, while reading the latest issue of the STAR (STudent Achievement in Reading) newsletter I came across an idea for a vocabulary activity that could be done with…wait for it…no prep! What? It didn’t seem possible, but it really is a clever little activity that allows instructors to assess students’ depth and breadth of understanding of a particular vocabulary word with virtually no prep. Even better, it can be used in any discipline area on the spot (when you have a few extra minutes) or as part of your planned lesson delivery. If you are intrigued, click the link and read on…WHO NEEDS TO KNOW THIS WORD?

Survey Says…

survey says 2

The question is, “What do students get out of participating in the High Impact Practice of Cooperative Learning?” Before getting to the survey results, let’s set the stage.

The final capstone of Teaching Methods 2.0 challenged me to analyze a negative situation in my classroom and develop a vision of the desired future reality, then implement an intervention. Continue reading

Adjusting to student feedback

Feedback from students is important to make sure that they understand information presented in a way that makes sense to them.  While we may feel the best way to present a topic is a certain way they may not understand the information and need it presented in an alternative way.  At the start of each semester I encourage the students to talk to me if they are having trouble at any point in the semester, but I know that it is a hit or miss expectation based on the comfort level of the student reaching out if they are confused or have a complaint.  I have started to put “check ins” with the classes to see how things are going.  I have them type answers, use blackboard surveys, or one-on-one conversations using specific questions based on classroom management, presentations, and assignments.  This feedback lets me know what they think about the class, what they think works well, and what doesn’t work as well.  Using the information that they provide allows me to adjust throughout the semester to meet the needs of the collective group.  I have found that if they feel their voice is being listened to they become more engaged and take a stronger ownership of their education.  It also helps me stay away from getting stuck in a one-mind track on how to present the topics each time I teach the class.

Learning About Learning Communities


“The instructors in the learning community along with my peers have pushed me to do the best that I can as well as become stronger in my employability skills.” –NWTC First Year Student

Learning communities (LC) are a high impact practice that “generally involve a group of students taking two or more linked classes together as a cohort, ideally with the instructors of those classes coordinating course outlines and assignments as well as jointly reviewing student progress. Learning communities build a sense of academic and social community and increase engagement among students and faculty, all of which lead to a variety of positive outcomes” (Achieving the Dream, 2015).

Research, including in-depth studies from MDRC and colleges across the United States, found these positive outcomes to include everything from increased satisfaction and greater use of support services to improved retention.

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