Consistent practice in ANY subject is a challenge.
Let’s face it. There is NEVER enough time in the day to teach everything we have to teach. NEVER! So being consistent in anything becomes a challenge for even the most experienced educator.
That is why we, as teachers, MUST use every single second to teach, instruct, guide, and model for our students. At my school, we call this “sacred teaching time.” I will post more on this another time, but essentially it means that every second I have with my students is a sacred time that nothing should interrupt, and is full of intentional, purposeful learning.
Use the moments you are already creating.
Every second in your class has the possibility of being a lesson-mini or maxi! Let’s take language arts for example. Your daily read aloud (and I sincerely hope you use one) is a goldmine of opportunities. As you are reading, you not only model fluency and expression for your students, you have the ability to model questioning, visualizing, inferring, and more. Read aloud time was my most favorite time of the day. I would get some serious mileage out of those 15-20 minutes a day by dividing my reading time with modeling in a 3:1 ratio.
The key is to SHOW the students what good readers do. I loved having a mentor text in my read aloud. It was like having a professional writer as my co-teacher. I would project some pages under the document camera, and we would use it in countless ways: finding a part of speech we were studying, an example of good description, sentence structure, voice, literary devices, and so on. Sometimes I would add written examples to an anchor chart, or write them on the board for continued discussion. The point is- I used the read aloud to SHOW good writing WHILE I was modeling fluency and expression in reading.
Since I did read aloud EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. My students had consistent, modeled practice in essential skills in language arts.
Using student work as mentor examples.
Another way to ensure consistent practice for students is to have them share their work as THE mentor examples. Using the reading/language arts example above, you could choose to showcase several sentences from different students that fit the topic or lesson from the day or the week.
Having a student show their work under the document camera and explain the how/why of their writing not only helps students see it is possible, but it gives authenticity to your lessons. The work being modeled didn’t come from a company, it came from a peer- this is much more powerful.
This strategy has great relevance to the realm of mathematics as well. Having a student model their strategy or solution has great power in the minds of peers, and many students can be reached much more quickly when a peer explains the how-to of a math problem. When done on a consistent basis (like daily, hint hint) students gain confidence in their abilities to work and explain their thinking.
Daily Consistent Practice is the key.
Because practice and modeling need to be part of your everyday routine, be sure you are using a system or program that allows such. I know many people have basal programs for reading and math, and these do work great.
However, if your school is like our school, you try to provide practice outside the initial literacy and math block. These “extra” times are excellent opportunities to have students model and share, for teacher modeling and discussion, and for showcasing student mentors.
Looking for Classroom Tested Daily Practice Resources? Try These.
Any daily practice resource will work wonderfully. If you are looking for a good resource to use, I offer both Daily Morning Math and Language Arts Daily Dose.
Both programs provide needed repeated practice with little prep work on your part, freeing up time for more modeling and class discussions. And, the best part is that I am offering a free week of both resources for you to test drive. You can click the link in each description below, or simply click on the picture.
Daily Morning Math is a great 5 days per week program. Days 1-4 offer 8 problems that slowly build in complexity over the course of the year. Day 5 offers a focus on concepts such a geometry and coordinate grids. We currently have FREE FULL weeks for Grade 4, Grade 5, and Grade 6.
Language Arts Daily Dose is a 5 days a week program that scaffolds student learning over the course of 4 days, with day 5 offering a more in-depth activity, such as report writing. This resource is appropriate for grades 4th-7th+. Click HERE to grab your FREE FULL week!
Regardless of what resource you use, the key to success and the very point of this post is to ensure that students are provided with modeling, mentor texts/examples, and consistent daily practice. If these three things are done consistently, then your students will be successful.
Looking for the Audio Version? It is now located in the Subscribers Perks page. Not a member of the Created by MrHughes family yet? No problem. Signing up is so easy and you will get instant access. Click HERE to sign up (or use the sign-up form on the right-hand side of this page).