Cults...Do you belong to one? Well if you're a teacher and you don't know about this one, lend me your ear! Cult of Pedagogy is a website that is committed to "making you more awesome in the classroom," which by any English teacher's standards is an understatement. Cult of Pedagogy features blogs, podcasts, and videos that are all centered upon enriching, enlightening, engaging, and I've run out of "e" words. Anyway, let me take you through the blog portion of this site:

Blogs- the blogs are separated into three different categories: The Craft; Go Deep; and Teacher
Soul. Each of these categories is further separated into different educational topics such as: Instruction, Classroom Management, Technology, Learning Theory, Leadership, Career and PD, Book Reviews, Hot Topics, Attitude Adjustments, Working Together,Inspiration, and Stories. My favorite educational topic is the Instruction one. This particular page offers information on the most effective teaching practices that you can implement into your classroom.

Many of my favorite posts from the Instruction page center upon classroom discussion strategies. One of the most helpful posts has been Deeper Class Discussions with the TQE Method which influenced me in creating TQE journals to enhance our class discussions. You can buy the journals I created here.
The TQE Method encourages students to document their Thoughts, Questions, and Epiphanies as they read. Normally my students center their reading discussions upon the questions I create, but the TQE journal allows them to explore ideas they had as they read. I have found that this method covers information I didn't necessarily think to cover since I can't enter the minds of all of my students all of the time; I know, shocker! My students meet in small groups after they have read the previous night's, assigned reading, and discuss their TQE journals; the conversation is generated from the TQE Journals which helps my students to further enhance their understanding of the text and encourages them to explore the text through their peers' eyes. After the students discuss their TQE Journals in small groups, we have a whole-group discussion based upon their findings. This method has changed our analysis of our assigned reading; the students are more engaged since it is their own thoughts, questions, and epiphanies that drive the conversation, not their old, English teacher's. 

Another one of my favorite posts focused upon discussion strategies is The Big List of Discussion Strategies. This post features over 10 different discussion strategies that range from "High-Prep; Low-Prep; and On-Going." Under each one of these categories are at least three different discussion strategies some I've heard of before, and some I have never tried. The gallery walk is a more recognizable strategy but the post also includes information on other formats such as Pinwheel Discussions, Affinity Mapping, and Backchannel Conversations, just to name a few. If you find that you continue to use the same discussion ideas over and over again, then venture into using some of these new discussions to spark student engagement. I particularly like Backchannel Conversations which involves having a digital conversation right alongside an activity that is happening in class. I use this strategy as my students partake in triangle debates or fishbowl discussions. As other students are vocally discussing important aspects of a topic, the other students can silently comment or ask questions using YoTeach! YoTeach! allows students to leave comments on an open forum using their cell phones or Ipads. I leave YoTeach! on my Promethean Board, so the while there is a live discussion occurring, there is also a digital one occurring alongside it. This encourages engagement from EVERYONE, not just the students who are a part of the live discussion. I have found that this strategy also helps those students, who tend to be more reticent join, the class discussion. Plus, come on, we know if we add innovative technology to our discussion, we are more likely to have students participate. 

This post doesn't even begin to cover all of the amazing resources Cult of Pedagogy has to offer, but hopefully it sparked your interest in the blog. Further of my blog posts will feature more information on all of the other parts of the Cult, but for now drink the kool-aid and join me!

Keep on stressin' on,

Michon Otuafi

No comments:

Post a Comment