Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teach-ok Teacher Heaven Moment

I've always loved Teach-ok. It is a simple yet powerful tool. Once the class has it down teach-ok is so easy to modify and improve on. Today though was a milestone in my Teach-Oking.

We took a district benchmark test. We've all seen it, we all hate testing because of it. It's a bunch of silent time for little bodies that are not made to stay silent. We don't want to wait while they take the test any more than they want to take it, but we really dread the aftermath more.

Every teacher knows it will be a crazy day. In the past this is a great review day or some super fun easy lesson. I have a tight schedule this year with common core, we just don't have the flexability to move things around. For better or worse I had to teach, new stuff- new to me for 5th grade. Exponents of all things. It can be fun or a mess, my brain was ready for both mixing into an afternoon of chaos and no one actually learning.

Teach-Ok to the rescue. I followed it to a tee and this group was really ready for it, today. I'm not sure if I just went heaver on it today than normally or if I made the gestures bigger or what I did. Maybe I stuck closely to the 1-2 minute goal. Like any normal lesson.
     I teach, they T-O.
     I call them back- share or continue on (all depending on the teack-ok task)
     I teach some more and the cycle continues.

Our math lesson progresses and they are really the ones figuring out what to do with exponents. I love that teach-ok adds that investigative/inquiry element from common core, in a natural way. It also requires them to explain their thinking helping teach justifying/proving their response.

The class did great we were having a blast and they were so proud that they were telling me how to do exponents.

Let's face it so far nothing too out of the norm. We're all WBT teachers here, we have all tried it and I know you probably love teach-ok too. My teacher heaven moment was at the end of the fun. we got to the independent practice.

I said "We've done a lot of talking and teaching show me how you're feeling about the practice problems." At this point we all know to show me a thumbs up or down or sideways. They hold it and show me close to their chest so only I get to know. No one gave me a thumbs down, a few were at a sideways thumb. In my room that would mean we're ok to try do it by ourselves, then get help. So my response to them was "great some still a bit unsure they get it but lots of helpers are around to assist. Lets focus on this alone and keep our voices low." Now if a student needed help they can ask a neighbor or me and continue on.

My class has talkers, fine by me I created it. 5th graders need to talk. I had to laugh at them because I heard a few hushed sounds of relief. A group of 10 year-olds wanting quiet work time ON A TESTING DAY!!!!

That, right there is teaching done right. I truly believe that every kid should leave school exhausted from all the fun learning they did. Today they did!!