I've Given an Exit Ticket, Now What Do I Do? (& a FREEBIE!)

Exit tickets are one of my non-negotiable when it comes to something that I have to have in every single one of my lessons.  If you teach a lesson and don't give an exit ticket, what was the point of teaching that lesson?  What data did you collect and how do you know what to do next? Yes, you might be able to gather some qualitative data, but to truly know what the students know, you need to give an exit ticket!  So now that I've convinced you, what do you do AFTER you've given an exit ticket?  There are so many amazing ways to use Exit Tickets!  Keep reading to learn just a few fun idea on what to do after you've given an exit ticket!

Need some fresh ideas on how to use Exit Tickets in your Math or ELA lessons?  Read this article with loads of ideas for elementary teachers on how to use exit tickets after they've been given.  You can even download your FREE printable exit ticket sorting mat templates to help organize the exit tickets after they've been collected.  Exit tickets help make student learning more focused and achievable!  Come read about how you can collect the data but use it in unique ways too!

#1 - Use them to help your students reflect on their learning

When you've given a short exit ticket, you've just collected a student's thinking and what better way to collect that data than to also collect their thinking about HOW they did on the exit ticket or HOW they feel on the content itself.  Having students reflect on their exit tickets is a simple way to get the students' opinions about where they are in their learning journey.  You can do this in a lot of ways:  When turning in exit tickets you can have them sort them into a specific tub or folder based on their level of understanding, you can have them rate themselves (using a Marzano's scale perhaps) and write their number in the corner of their exit ticket, or you can simply have them draw a smiley face on their exit ticket next to their name to show how they feel.  Use this time and allow students to reflect on their learning when you give them an exit ticket!

#2 - Identify the most common misconceptions 

After you've given an exit ticket, you now have all of this data in your hands.  Don't just check them and throw them away or give them back.  You need to USE the data!  Here's what you can do:  Go through each exit ticket that had a mistake on it and write down all of the errors that students are making.  If you find repeats, then just put a tally next to them.  When you're done, look at your list and identify the top three misconceptions that students made on their exit ticket.  Now here's what's best - Take that list and write it on the front board the next day (or next lesson) for the students.  Number them #1 -3 and pass back the exit tickets to the students.  Have them analyze their exit ticket and match the mistake they made to the misconception on the board.  If their mistake matches have them write the number on their exit ticket.  This just became their goal for today's lesson.  This is now their focus to fix and work on and improve.  We've now taken this data and given it back to them and put the learning into their hands.  So powerful & meaningful!

#3 - Use them to group students

Make grouping students more practical and quicker with this easy strategy.  As you're grading your exit tickets, label them.  Make a key for yourself so you don't forget.  (Example - square = high, triangle = average, circle = low).  Write a shape (or whatever you decide to label) on their exit tickets.  Then when you give them back at the next lesson you can easily have them form mixed ability groups, like ability groups, pair up high/low, etc.  This makes your grouping much faster and more strategic!  

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Need some fresh ideas on how to use Exit Tickets in your Math or ELA lessons?  Read this article with loads of ideas for elementary teachers on how to use exit tickets after they've been given.  You can even download your FREE printable exit ticket sorting mat templates to help organize the exit tickets after they've been collected.  Exit tickets help make student learning more focused and achievable!  Come read about how you can collect the data but use it in unique ways too!

#4 - Conduct 'Error Analysis'

Students are going to make mistakes on their exit tickets, so let's use these mistakes to our advantage!  Gather up all of the 'incorrect' exit tickets and at the start of your next lesson, anonymously place an exit ticket under your document camera and showcase this as your 'favorite mistake'.  Ask students why it's your favorite mistake.  What mistake do they see?  How can we fix it?  You can repeat this process with 1-3 exit tickets depending on time.  You can have students fix the error collaboratively as well to get them talking right at the beginning of the lesson.  

#5 - Conduct mini conferences

Again, so much data at your finger tips but don't be selfish and keep it to yourself!  Since your exit tickets are short and sweet (no more than 3-4 quick questions), going over them individually with students shouldn't take long either.  I like to keep a pile of them on my desk (if I'm not using them for another reason like mentioned above) and I have mini conferences with these students at very random times.  Why not take them with me when standing in the hallway waiting on students to use the restroom?  I can easily have a talk with 1-2 students about their exit ticket, how they did and what they need to improve on.  Or what about when you're waiting on students to get coats and book bags to line up to go home or go to lunch?  There's 2 minutes you can talk with someone about their exit ticket too!  You'd be surprised how many mini conferences you can squeeze in when your conversation is focused around a short exit ticket!

There are MANY more ideas where these came from.  Just subscribe by the photo above to grab your printable idea list & exit ticket sorting mats!  

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Need some fresh ideas on how to use Exit Tickets in your Math or ELA lessons?  Read this article with loads of ideas for elementary teachers on how to use exit tickets after they've been given.  You can even download your FREE printable exit ticket sorting mat templates to help organize the exit tickets after they've been collected.  Exit tickets help make student learning more focused and achievable!  Come read about how you can collect the data but use it in unique ways too!

Need some fresh ideas on how to use Exit Tickets in your Math or ELA lessons?  Read this article with loads of ideas for elementary teachers on how to use exit tickets after they've been given.  You can even download your FREE printable exit ticket sorting mat templates to help organize the exit tickets after they've been collected.  Exit tickets help make student learning more focused and achievable!  Come read about how you can collect the data but use it in unique ways too!



Best Practices Needed in Every Lesson!

Best practices are called so because they have been proven to get results.  But knowing that there are LOTS of them, is it realistic to ask that a teacher to have every possible best practice in every one of their lessons?  No!  It's possible, yes, but definitely not realistic to ask of a teacher.  Teachers need to figure out which best practices work for them and get the best results for their class and focus on those!  However, in my opinion, there are a few best practices needed in every lesson, no matter what!  Today, let's break down that list of must have best practices and talk about why they are non-negotiable.

So many best practices and don't know where to start?  This article helps break down 5 best practices needed in every lesson.  These are my non-negotiable for every lesson that help get the best results academically from my students.  Grab your FREE printable list of best practices to help you narrow down what you can and should be focusing on in your own classroom!

#1 Best Practice - Always have an objective

Objectives are the goal of the lesson or what you're focusing on.  It's very important for students to know and understand specifically what I'm focusing on when teaching.  The more specific you can get with your objective, the better.  I also try to make sure my objective is written out visually and stated to them verbally throughout the lesson.  Even having students state the objective with you to get them more involved helps too!  Another reason an objective is so important is that it creates a muscle memory connection of actually DOING the activity along with the objective itself.  So as students are practicing the content and hearing the objective being stated - they are connecting the two together in hopes that when they hear those words (objective) again they will remember how to complete the problem or questions from before.  Many times teachers assume that students know what they are practicing on - stop assuming and focus on having a specific objective for every lesson!

#2 Best Practice - Always have an anchor chart

Whether it's something you created in 5 minutes with clipart from Google or something you took time on and used your beautiful lettering skills (jealous!) - have some sort of visual or anchor chart for every lesson that you do!  You are going to reach more students who have different learning styles by doing so.  Also having an anchor chart helps students anchor their learning to the chart itself.  Best practice is to make the anchor chart WITH your students, but I know that that's not always an option.  An anchor chart helps create a visual reminder for whatever the content is and the more you use it with your students and refer to it throughout your lesson, it's engraining the content and learning in their minds in hopes that when they aren't near the anchor chart but discussing the content, the visual is engrained in their minds to use in the future!

#3 Best Practice - Model during your lessons

By modeling I mean that you are completing a problem or a question from beginning until end for your students without their help.  Make sure you're not having your students help you during the model.  Students need to hear your thinking to solve the problem or question from the beginning until the end to know what they should be doing when solving the problem on their own.  All of the questions and interactions in the middle hurts their understanding the concept and puts it into pieces.  You can break it down later, but when modeling at the beginning it needs to be uninterrupted modeling.  Ask yourself questions out loud so the students know what kinds of questions to be asking themselves when they are solving independently.

Overwhelmed by which best practices there are and where to start?  Download this amazing and *F*R*E*E* list of best practices and start by checking off what you're already strong at.  Then look at what's left and you know what you can focus on and where you can grow!  This comprehensive list of best practice is great to keep when lesson planning and use to think about how to best reach your students!

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    So many best practices and don't know where to start?  This article helps break down 5 best practices needed in every lesson.  These are my non-negotiable for every lesson that help get the best results academically from my students.  Grab your FREE printable list of best practices to help you narrow down what you can and should be focusing on in your own classroom!

    #4 Best Practice - Collaboration

    In every lesson, there needs to be an opportunity to collaborate with other students, not just with the teacher.  This needs to be MORE than just a turn and talk!  At the end of a lesson if you can stop and ask yourself "Did I talk more than the students?" and if you answered 'Yes' to that - there's a problem!  We need to make sure they are talking more than us!  We need to make sure we are giving them the opportunity to have time to process the content and their thinking without the teacher being involved.  When you're allowing them time to collaborate with one another then they are being time to process.  Whatever guided practice or independent work they are doing, just make sure they have time to talk and process with others!  Need help getting your students to collaborate?  I have an amazing post all about building a culture of collaboration!

    #5 Best Practice - Make sure you have an exit ticket

    Having an exit ticket is CRUCIAL!  If you do a lesson and don't collect data at the end of that lesson - then why did you teach the lesson in the first place?  You need to make sure that at some point you're collecting data from your lesson.  It can be as simple as having them whisper an answer to you, write on a post it note, have a 1/4 sheet of paper ready with 1-2 questions.  No more than 3-4 questions tops!  Make sure you have SOMETHING!  When you do that you're getting that data from your students, you have grouping strategies you can use, you know what misconceptions your students having and where to go on your next lesson.  There are so many amazing ways to use exit tickets and their data!  These are so powerful and we need to be utilizing that power in the best way possible!

    Too much to read at once?  Try pinning this post for later!  

    So many best practices and don't know where to start?  This article helps break down 5 best practices needed in every lesson.  These are my non-negotiable for every lesson that help get the best results academically from my students.  Grab your FREE printable list of best practices to help you narrow down what you can and should be focusing on in your own classroom!




    Getting Started with Small Groups

         You've started school and are excited and ready to jump into your routine!  I get it - we all are eager to get the merriment going and establishing your day to day schedule.  But..  there is such a thing as jumping the gun, especially when it comes to rolling out your small groups.  Getting started with small groups is a meticulous process that takes time, so let's break down this process together so when the time comes, you'll be ready!

         The best way to get started is to work backwards.  Think about your ideal classroom where centers & stations are all working beautifully without interruption and then map out your plan of how to get there.  What do you need to teach your students how to do in order to achieve that vision?  What date do you want that vision to be in place by?  This post is all about identifying things that could go wrong when launching and trying to prevent them all from happening, allowing you and your class to have the best small group roll out you can!

    Make sure you have everything you need to get started with small groups.  Read all about these important parts of small groups to teach before getting started!  Plus grab your awesome small group roll out plan template freebie!


         Here is a list of items to think about teaching and/or preparing your students for when getting started with small groups.  Some of these might be items that you're already used to teaching to launch your small groups and others might be new!  

    #1 - Transitions:  

         This is an obvious one, but a rather important one as well.  Make sure you show and teach your students how to transition to and from their small groups, how to transition between each individual small group, & how to transition with materials in hand.  Also make sure to discuss the timing of your transitions so students know their expectations on how long these transitions should take.  

    #2 - Expectations:

         This is a large concept to make sure to break down and teach to your students for small groups.  What do you expect of them while they are in small groups, working with partners, working with an adult in a small group, etc.  This may overlap your 'normal' classroom rules but you will find that there are changes that are made to accommodate the small group setting - so be sure to be specific and lay these expectations out for your students

    #3 - Workload:

         When preparing students for small groups - make sure to explain to them what their workload will look like at their stations.  What are the students being expected to do or work on?  What is their role?  Do they have must do activities and then may do activities?  What should they do when they get frustrated?  Be explicit and explain this to better your chances to avoid needing to redirect students later.

    #4 - Schedule:

         This is one of the biggest hurdles to get through when getting started with small groups.  Do students know their schedule?  Make and display a student friendly visual for them to refer to to help avoid them asking you questions about when and where to go. Take time to practice reading through the schedule and practice where to go.  

    Make sure you have everything you need to get started with small groups.  Read all about these important parts of small groups to teach before getting started!  Plus grab your awesome small group roll out plan template freebie!


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      #5 - Your job:

           Make sure to take time to explain what you will be doing during centers and stations.  How will students know when to approach you?  When your job is clearly communicated to students, they take more care and understanding of you and your time with other students.

      #6 - Accountability:

           When students are working independently or with others without an adult, accountability is important to be upfront about!  How will you be checking in on students and their work?  How will they turn in completed work?  Will their work be graded?  Letting your students know about their accountability will help keep them responsible from the start.  

      #7 - Objectives:

           This is one that, over the years, I've found to be very important to explicitly explain and teach during my small group roll out.  When I plan out my centers - I make sure to write out and explain the objective of each center to the students.  Meaning - if I have a listening center where they listen and complete a graphic organizer, I make sure the students understand that that station is to increase their comprehension.  If I have a technology station where they are playing a grammar app, I make sure that they know that they are working to better their understanding on grammar concepts.  Be very upfront about what the students are to be learning in each center to help create more buy in and connection to the learning process.

      #8 - Materials:

           This is another one you're probably used to explaining - the use of your materials in centers.  What are the expectations when they use materials in small groups?  How are they to take care of them?  Where do they find them and return them?  What do they do with them when time is up but they are rotating to another center.  Make sure to break this one down as it can consume a lot of time after you launch if you haven't been as clear as you should of been.

      #9 - Early Finisher:

           Very important to think through prior to launching small groups!  What will you students do if/when they finish their work at their center?  Where will their completed work be turned in and what are they and are they not allowed to work on when done?  This is a great chance to throw in some differentiated work as well for your students!

      #10 - What If's:

           This is something I HIGHLY recommend doing at least once in your roll out plan before launching.  Have a 'what if' conversation with your students.  If you're anything like me, you hate 'what if' questions..  But for students, those questions are important to them.  When you're close to launching, take time to allow students to ask as many what if questions as they can think of!  Go through some 'what if' scenarios yourself with them - like, what if students are absent or what if the schedule changes?  Having a 'what if' day can help lessen some anxiety for many students!

           So what now?  Grab your free calendar template above (or create your own in your lesson plan book!) and map out your roll out plan.  Pick your launch date and work backwards thinking of all of the items from this list (and your own list) that you need to teach and put them on your calendar!  Then teach your roll out plan to your students during what WILL be small group time.  By the time your launch date arrives, they will be pros and you'll have the smoothest roll out to small groups you've ever experienced!  I promise!  

      Too much to read now?  Make sure to pin this article to read later!

      Make sure you have everything you need to get started with small groups.  Read all about these important parts of small groups to teach before getting started!  Plus grab your awesome small group roll out plan template freebie!





      4 Classroom Management Must Do's {With a FREEBIE}

           Whether you're brand new to the classroom or have been teaching for 20 years, classroom management is always an important part of teaching to 'keep up with'.  Something that worked great last year with your class might tank this year.  We always have to be on the lookout for new and amazing trends, strategies, and ideas to try to each new class!  However, the foundations of classroom management stay the same.  You've heard them all before, I'm sure:  Stay consistent, be fair, use positive redirections..  I could go on!  But instead, I've come up with my four Classroom Management Must Do's!  Here is what I believe every teacher should know (& do) when it comes to classroom management!

      As a classroom teacher, make sure you are always doing these 4 classroom management must do's.  Read all about these important strategies and grab your ready to use freebie!

      Classroom Management Must Do #1:  Teach the WRONG Way

           Classroom management in other words is known as procedures & expectations.  These are the 'things' that we teach to our students mainly at the beginning of the school year and then reinforce throughout the remainder of the year.  The process typically goes as such:  teacher shows and explains the correct way to do a procedure or complete an expectation, students practice doing the procedure or expectation the right way, teacher encourages students to continue to do procedure correctly throughout the school year.  What do I say about this?  This is WRONG!  We need to ALSO teach our students how the procedures are done the WRONG way!  Yes, I said it.  Students need to be able to know and see their parameters, meaning what are they allowed to do and NOT allowed to do.  We, as teachers, assume students know what the procedure would look like the wrong way and why its the 'wrong' way to do said procedure - but that's not the case.  Allowing students to SEE the procedure/expectation being done the incorrect way allows them to know exactly what the teacher hopes NOT to see.  This allows the students to know exactly what to do and exactly what NOT to do, giving them more clear parameters than if you were just to teach the 'right' way.  I promise you - it works!

      Classroom Management Must Do #2: Keep Things Fresh!

           We all have our own classroom management systems that work of us, whether it's using a 'clip up, clip down' chart or ClassDojo - you do what works for you!  BUT..  with that being said, I have a feeling you know that using JUST that one system doesn't work all year long.  You know there will
      Need some new ideas for classroom management?  Try out these awesome freebies and read all about my 4 classroom management must do's!
      come a time when students will stop caring or your system will lose its shiny new glow.  It happens to us all!  Here's what you have to do:  Keep things fresh!  That doesn't mean keep changing your management system - keep that the same all year.  However, you DO need to have some awesome and motivating tips and tricks to use as classroom management 'extras' to pull out when you need.  I keep my own little 'Bag of Tricks' on my desk at all times and pull out a card when I know or think my classroom management needs a boost, my students need a boost, or we just need a spruce of FUN in our lesson! 
            Some fun examples:  keep some delicious flavored chapstick in your desk and pull it out during your lesson.  Anytime you see a student meeting expectations, give them a dot of chapstick on the outside of their hand to smell! 
      Need some new ideas for classroom management?  Try out these awesome freebies and read all about my 4 classroom management must do's!
      They love it :)  OR try this:  Give each student 1-2 tickets before a lesson begins.  Set a class goal for how many tickets you want to collect during the lesson.  As you complete the lesson, and students are participating or meeting expectations - collect a ticket from them and place them in a cup.  At the end of the lesson count to see if you've met your goal and celebrate!  

      Classroom Management Must Do #3: Healthy Competition 

      Need some new ideas for classroom management?  Try out these awesome freebies and read all about my 4 classroom management must do's!      Competition at the right moment in the right lesson can really help with classroom management.  I'm sure you've done table points or group points before when trying to get students to meet certain expectations.  It holds students accountable and brings them together, all working towards a cause - winning!  Now, too much competition isn't necessarily a good thing but intentionally and sporadically placing this strategy when and where it's needed can potentially impact your classroom management.  One of my favorite ways to do this is with Behavior Tic Tac Toe!  There are two sets of cards - one with positive behaviors that I hope and expect to see in the classroom and one with negative behaviors that I hope I do NOT see.  I copy them on two different colors of cards to help distinguish between them.  Then I place the Tic-Tac-Toe board in the front of the room.  If I see positive and exceptional behaviors, I pick the card that matches the behavior and allow a student to place it on the board.  On the other hand, if I see a behavior that's not meeting expectations, I find that card and I get to place it on the board.  The first 'team' to get three in a row WINS!  This is fun and it helps focus in on specific behaviors rather than behavior as a whole!

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        Classroom Management Must Do #4: Let Them Talk More! 
        Need some new ideas for classroom management?  Try out these awesome freebies and read all about my 4 classroom management must do's!      At the end of a lesson, one of the questions I always ask myself is 'How much did I talk at them and how much did I allow THEM to talk?'  I want to make sure, in every lesson, that they have been given ample amounts of opportunity to talk.  Just doing a turn and talk here and there isn't enough.  They need time to work together, collaborate, and dive into the content without having to hear me talking at them during the lesson.  So if you want/need your classroom management to improve, this might be an area to try to reflect on!  One thing I do at the beginning of the year to hold myself accountable for this is by taping these fun 'Phone a Friend' templates on each students' desk.  One of the first weeks of school we then take time to fill it in.  It's super simple and fun to set up and then it's here to use all year long!  Basically students will (when setting up initially) carry around their phone looking for 9 different partners.  When they find a partner they will write each other's names on the SAME number on their phone.  (So I write my name on their #1 and they write their name on my #1).  When the phone is full, I tape it to their desk.  When I want them to get up and talk to someone in the middle of a lesson I say "Dial friend #5 and go see what they think!" - Then they check their phone, find that friend and chat!  It's a great system and it gives them voice and choice and takes time out of having to pair students up together.

        So again, whether you're a veteran teacher or a new teacher - there are many things that with classroom management you just need to know!  I hope these tips and tricks were helpful!  Didn't have time to read the whole post?  Feel free to pin the image below to read later!

        Need some new ideas for classroom management?  Try out these awesome freebies and read all about my 4 classroom management must do's! As a classroom teacher, make sure you are always doing these 4 classroom management must do's.  Read all about these important strategies and grab your ready to use freebie!




        Student Reflection & the Common Misconceptions Teachers Have

             Now days, teaching is so much more than delivering content.  It's about developing the whole learner - a student who is self sufficient, responsible, flexible, thinks outside of the box, and empathetic.  It's a lot on their plate as well as ours as their teacher!  So on top of teaching our content areas, we also need to be helping round out the well groomed children in our classrooms.  But how can students be a part of this?  How can we get students to step up and take responsibility for their own learning and hold themselves accountable for their journey.  Two words - Student Reflection.  When we have our students consistently reflect upon their learning & their journey, we are allowing them to take control of their own education.  They can make decisions for themselves based on their own data.  They get to sit in the driver's seat for once.  But - with all aspects of teaching, there are many misconceptions to student reflection that I would like to set straight.  By the end of this post, I hope that you truly can see and understand the potential and impact that student reflection can have on a student's growth & achievement.

        Student Reflection Misconceptions

        Misconception #1:  Student Reflection is Natural

        In my experience as a teacher and an instructional coach, I've found that many teachers see and want to harness the power behind having students reflect on their work, however they assume that
        Student Reflection Misconceptions
         'reflection' is a natural part of the learning process and that students just know how and what to do.  This is not true.  Teachers are a reflective bunch, but that's because we've been taught how to.  Reflection is a learned skill.  It is learned through observing others.  When we ask our students to reflect on their learning without having taught or modeled, students don't know where to start their thinking.  They don't understand what's important to reflect on and not to reflect on.  Where do they start?  How?  Why?  Do you see the confusion that students will/might have if we just throw this 'reflection' at them?  We need to teach our students how to reflect.

        (See Photo!) A super simple way to model for your students is to complete the 'reflection activity' you're having your students do, yourself!  Let them see you do it and hear the process themselves!

        Misconception #2:  Students Don't Need Reminders to Reflect on their Learning

        Since we learned from the previous misconception that student reflection isn't something that comes naturally to students, this misconception naturally makes sense.  Students need to know when to reflect on their learning.  They need reminders, modeling, support, explanation.  And remember that reflecting doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to be at the end of a lesson or activity.  Remind
        Student Reflection Misconceptions
        students to reflect before, during, and after a lesson to get the most out of their level of understanding and growth.  If you want the most out of their learning and growth - then make sure you're reminding students to reflect!

        -------->  An easy way to do this is to make reflection a part of your routine!  Making or creating a reflection journal where students can simply write out their thoughts on a lesson/activity or the day is super helpful (and you can use them when conferring with students!).  Giving them sentence starters in their journals is helpful to get them started thinking, especially if they are in younger grades!

        Misconception #3:  Students Understand What It Means to Reflect

        First off, when we reflect - that encompasses a wide variety thinking.  Students don't know what questions to ask themselves to reflect on.  Students need examples of reflection to know what to do and how to think through their own experiences.  Reflection is about the process of thinking not about the product that they are producing.  It's about the 'How'.  When students are reminded to reflect, have been given ample models of thinking to use to mirror, and understand what it means to truly reflect -
        Student Reflection Misconceptions
        then you're going to get the deeper and more confident reflection from your students!  So as a teacher - I'm modeling reflecting, giving concrete and specific examples and ways for my students to reflect, and making it a specific part of my lesson to get the most out of my students.

        <---------------  Giving students a concrete way to reflect helps them understand the process even better!  One of my favorite and easy ways to do this is to create a stop light and use clothes pins with students' names on them.  Before, during, or after a lesson - have the students reflect on their level of understanding on the concept and place their clothes pin next to the color that matches their level.  This allows you to locate quickly students who need more help or pair students up for an activity!

        Misconception #4:  Students Only Need to Reflect on Graded Work

        This is something I've noticed even from teachers who have upped their 'reflection game'!  Think of this - by the time it's graded..  it's too late! (not completely, but you get what I'm saying). We want to make sure the students get the chance to reflect during the process of learning to get the ample chance to grow as much as they can during the lesson!  So when we have them reflect at the beginning we
        Student Reflection Misconceptions
        Consensograms are perfect for reflecting at any point in a
        lesson and it gives the teacher amazing data to use to identify
        students for small groups!
        are allowing students to think about their prior knowledge, think about how they've done on a previous assignment that's been connected to so they know where and what in today's lesson they need to focus and work on.  When we have them pause and reflect in the middle of a lesson, we are giving them the chance to think about what they need from me, the teacher, that might impact their outcome by the end of the lesson, what questions they have that they don't understand, and how and what they need to change in themselves to get the most out of the lesson.  When we reflect at the end of a lesson, we are allowing students to make a game plan or an action plan for 'next time' or identifying areas that are great for small groups and interventions!  This also is perfect for encouraging a growth mindset in our students as well. (Want to get started with Growth Mindset?  Check out this great post on 5 Ways to Get Started with Growth Mindset).  So it doesn't just have to be on graded work!

        Misconception #5:  Students Only Need to Reflect on the Mistakes That They Make

        When it comes to success (for adults and children), it's important to know what impacted your success.  So when it comes to reflection, we need to make sure we're teaching students to not only reflect on the mistakes that they are making to change them and grow - but also to reflect on what went right and how that made them successful.  Doing this allows them to repeat this and hopefully
        Student Reflection Misconceptions
        apply it to another area in their day to have more success.  Students need to see both sides - what positively impacts their learning and what isn't allowing them to learn.  This allows them, too, to reflect on areas in their life that just aren't about academics.  This can apply to behavior, social, and many other areas as well.  Reflection is truly a life long skill and when we put all of this together, we are teaching them that!

        (See Photo!) Sometimes it's just about asking the right question.  So to make sure students are reflecting on both sides of the spectrum - just make sure you're asking a variety of questions!


        So if you didn't think it before, hopefully you do now.  Student reflection is an important and necessary part to a student's growth and achievement.  It takes much of the responsibility that is on the teacher's shoulders and places it also on the student's shoulders.  And why shouldn't it be on theirs as well?  It's our responsibility to teach our students to become well rounded people and what better way to do that, than reflect on their own journeys?


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        If you want to get started with student reflection and/or need some new and concrete ideas to add to your toolbox, then definitely check out my Student Reflection Mega Pack!  It's loaded with ready to use ideas and printables for teachers and students!

        Student Reflection Misconceptions



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        Student Reflection Misconceptions







        5 Ways to Introduce Growth Mindset to Your Students



              When teaching, some things are easy to explain.  Concepts like addition are concrete and visual.  Others like phonics or probability, not so much!  When a concept isn't black and white, it's more difficult to explain it to students.  And that's no different with non academic concepts, like Growth Mindset!  Have you tried explaining Growth Mindset to students?  Maybe you've used some of the catch phrases related to GM such as "Don't give up" or "Mistakes mean progress!" - but have you truly broken down and explained what this necessary mindset is truly all about and how it effects each and every one of us?  Keep reading to find out 5 fun and simple ways to introduce Growth Mindset to your students!

           

             There is a time when a young child is growing up that doing things wrong becomes bad.  I haven't been able to pin point when that is.  But growing up, everything difficult that a child had to accomplish was done by repeated practice of doing something the wrong way over and over again:  walking, riding a bike, reading, etc.  But at a certain point, we (society including the child) expects perfection right away.  The child gets discouraged, we get frustrated and the cycle continues.  We can avoid this from the first day of school by doing what tip #1 states:  Practice the wrong way.  It doesn't matter what you're practicing - procedures during back to school, math word problems, reading comprehension, etc. - practice the wrong way.  This allows students the chance to understand the process of how to 'redeem' themselves after making mistakes, how to manage their frustration, and how handle situations like the one that they are in, at a later time.  By doing this, it allows students to see both sides of spectrum of thinking - both the right and wrong side.  It helps keep them balanced and able to use their growth mindset when needed! When you do practice the wrong way, make sure to talk about using their growth mindsets so students begin to make the connections between the two.


             When we teach, or practice routines or procedures, in Science class, Math class or any time during the day - we as educators are giving our students chances to get 'right' answers.  We do this by asking questions that we know (and hope) they will get right, teaching just to the standard being taught and nothing more, and even, dare I say, playing it safe.  Students need to understand that learning, life, and our world is all about making mistakes and using our Growth Mindset to get through them.  If we don't give them purposeful opportunities to make mistakes then this will never happen!  We need to make our activities, lessons, and experiences have moments where there is a purposeful struggle for all of our students.  Let them get a question wrong 5 times in a row to see what they can do with it.  How can they think through the question and analyze their 5 wrong answers to determine where to go and what to do next?  We need to ask the question in class that we know only ONE student might know the answer to and then let that be the focus of our class for a few minutes.  We need to make time to get things wrong!


             A huge part of Growth Mindset, as you most likely know, is the language.  Using self affirmations, positive quotes, etc is important.  But what is also important is specifically using and teaching the
        students the vocabulary about Growth Mindset.  It's one thing to have a positive class, encourage students, and embrace mistakes - but it's another to specifically teach students the concept and terminology of Growth Mindset.  One of my favorite books to teach this is a wonderful picture book
        by Julia Cook titled Bubble Gum Brain.   (affiliate link) This picture book helps break down the exact concept of Growth Mindset for students and teaches them the vocabulary and terminology in a fun and friendly way.  Students can relate to the characters and events because they do have lived them!  If you're looking to add a great title in your collection, definitely grab this one!



             Students learn SO much from picture books, so why not teach them all about Growth Mindset
        doing just that?  Students everyday make connections, relate to, and form bonds with characters in stories and many of the character's 'struggles' are relatable to students'.  So let's be purposeful about choosing the right picture books and using them to talk about, explain, and teach Growth Mindset!  You may already have titles in your library that are ready to go!  Here are my top 10 favorite titles:

        The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
        After the Fall
        Anything is Possible
        Flight School
        Amazing Grace
        Rosie Revere Engineer
        Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bike
        The Most Magnificent Thing
        Thanks for the Feedback
        Making a Splash

        These are some amazing titles!  Feel free to browse them and get to know them with the links above (affiliate links).  You may even already have some in your classroom library!  So go and find one,
        create a lesson and get started!  It doesn't have to be anything extraordinary or over the top!  Just be intentional about it.  If you need some easy to implement lessons, I've got you covered!  You can grab lesson and extension activities that are low prep and ready to print in my TpT store right now!  It includes all 10 titles you see above - each with a ready made lesson plan and 2 extension activities ready to go!  Go and grab my Growth Mindset Read Alouds now :)  Or - want to try a sample lesson?  You can grab the lesson plan and activities for Rosie Revere, Engineer for FREE below!

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         One of the best and easiest ways to encourage and practice a Growth Mindset is by providing students with open ended activities and questions.  At the beginning of the year - this translates directly into having some open ended team builders where multiple solutions are explored.  When teaching, be intentional about creating and asking at least one open ended question in your lesson.  By providing open ended opportunities and combining that with Growth Mindset it shows students that not all paths to an answer are the same, that different types of thinking and understanding are encouraged, and outside of the box thinkers are needed in your classroom!  Instilling a Growth Mindset in your students isn't just about being able to bounce back from a wrong answer but also encouraging that courageous and out of the box thinking.  STEM is perfect for this type of thinking too!

        I hope these tips were helpful!  Please let me know if I can help answer any of your questions!  I love hearing from you all!

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