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Friday, April 20, 2018

Using Think-Pair-Share in Elementary #Physed

I enjoy learning. I really enjoy learning about how the brain works. The more I learn about the best way to make learning stick, the more my teaching has changed. Some of my biggest influences from cognitive research field are the blog and newsletter from (run by Pooja K. Agarwal), The Learning Scientist , & Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab (what a cool name).

I talked about a few months ago how I started teaching health information, click here to read that post. Basically, the flow worked like this:
  1. Think-pair-share with a partner about a health topic. Example “What is a healthy snack? What are your favorite snacks to eat?”
    • Sometimes I would have them find a new partner with either the same question or new one. 
  2. Health Tip: After think-pair-share I would discuss the health tip aligned with that days think-pair-share.
  3. Challenge: Would leave students with a challenge “How are you going to make sure you have healthy snacks?”
I would then would go into that day’s lesson.

New Approach

After reading “Think-Pair-Share? Think Again!” from Retrieval Practice blog I was challenged to give my healthy nugget section a makeover. This is how I teach my healthy nugget section.
  1. Think-pair-share on last class periods health tip. i.e. “How many minutes a day do we want to be active?”
    • I am trying to combine two research strategies; Retrieval and Spaced practice (Check out The Learning Scientist Podcastthey do a great job of explaining these strategies). Basically, I am trying to have my students recall and learn last class periods learning objective. My hope is to make learning stick. If my students were older, I teach pk-2nd, or I had more time I would try to use the “Two Things Strategy”. Basically, I would have them write down their response first, switch papers to another student, and then discuss.
    • After initial pairing I have the students get into quads and get more feedback on the initial think-pair-share question or use the quads to practice Interleaving. This idea I got from Jennifer Gonzalez, think-pair-square. By using quads I will try to have them discriminate or apply two related topics.Example:
      • “How will reducing media/TV time help us with our goal of being active for 60 minutes a day?”,
      • ”Now that your watching less TV what will you do with your time?”
  2. Health Tip: Now I will introduce a new health tip, not aligned to the think-pair-share prompt done earlier.
  3. Challenge: I now do the challenge question during the wrap-up, 20 minutes after I introduced the health tip as another way to use retrieval practice and have them thinking about the topic as they walk back to class.
Last month I found a projector that the school was not using.This has transformed the way I teach. Here is a preview of the slides I use to teach my healthy nuggets.

How do you use brain research or any research to influence how you teach? Are you using best practices based on cognitive research? Let me know what you think in a comment below.

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