Leaning Forward Together

Month: September, 2012

SDAI Strategy

An English teacher would know that when he or she asks the class to “compare your shoes with the shoes of your partner,” the students would be expected to state the similarities and not the differences.  Defend means to give reasons to support your argument.  Explain usually means to tell how one arrived at a conclusion…and you get the idea.  These instructional verbs have significant meaning and tell the students how they should respond to the prompt.  

Many students struggle with academic vocabulary, and this is an easy way to help boost their knowledge in all subjects.  



This is a cube you can make out of a single page of paper.  You cut around the outer edges and then fold on the solid lines until it makes a cube.  Tape it up and put one instructional verb from the following link on each side.  The words you choose should be ones you have been practicing in class or are starting to learn.  Have a student toss the cube up, and whichever side is facing up when it lands will start a writing prompt.  Either the student can make up the whole prompt or you can do it for them.  Have the students take a few minutes to respond and then do a think-pair-share.  This is a simple activity and it can be a warm up for some days.  

Instructional Verbs




We were asked to post a photo of an injustice.  At one point, I would have said this is a blessing, but it’s truly an injustice and it makes my heart hurt.

I had the opportunity to observe a cycling P.E. class and I was ecstatic because I love going to cycling classes at the gym.  I was disappointed to see two bikes not working.  Here’s a picture of just one.


I was further disappointed when I discovered the class was over-enrolled by FIVE bikes.  So, there were seven students without bikes since two were broken.  The students sat and talked to their friends while they waited for other students to finish with their routine so they could start.  Here are the kids just waiting.


The last picture is the class cycling.  I couldn’t even count how many bikes were in there.  It was hot, swampy, and kind of gross.


I said that at one point I would have thought that this was a blessing, but my mentality has changed. Being active reduces stress, increases endorphins, and provides a sense of accomplishment–something acing a test can’t do for a person once they’re out of school.  These kids are missing out on precious P.E. time and I’m really sad, but I doubt they are.  I hope they learn to love, or at least find the value in, cycling by the end of the class.