Steve Reifman

Steve Reifman

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 17:45

Teaching Kids About Gratitude (Teaching Tip #86)

In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video I created. The video was inspired by a TED Talk given by Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think Inc., entitled “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” Achor asserts in his talk that in our society people tend to believe that we should work hard in order to be happy, and he suggests that this way of thinking could be backwards. He argues that happiness makes us more productive, creative, and successful. In short, happiness should come first. At the end of his talk, Achor shares some ways that people can use to focus on the positive aspects of their lives and become happier. I tried one of these ways with my students, and it had a wonderful effect on the children and the classroom environment as a whole. Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.

In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video. In the video I present a brief chant, along with a corresponding set of hand movements, to help children understand what it means to make an inference when they are reading. By repeating the chant and doing these movements for just a minute or two per day for a few days, kids will remember that when making an inference, they need to combine a piece of information from the text with their own knowledge. Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.

In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video. In the video I describe a few ways in which children can form teams for sports. Traditionally, in this situation two children act as team captains and take turns selecting players until every child has been assigned to a team. This method may appear fast and efficient, but it can cause lasting self-esteem damage in the kids’ who are chosen last. In the video I share ways to form teams that avoid this type of public selection.

 In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video. The video describes three ways in which mathematicians express numbers: word form, standard form, and expanded form. Children are expected to learn these various forms as part of their study of place value, yet they frequently confuse the meanings of these forms. The video features three movements that you can use to help kids understand the difference between word form, standard form, and expanded form. Using movement to learn and remember academic content is always something that I strongly recommend. Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.

In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video. The video features a method of editing that I have used with my students over the past several years. This strategy breaks the complex task of editing into a series of smaller, more manageable steps. Kids will need a four-color pen in order to use this approach. I have found that the strategy explained in the video not only increases students’ proficiency with editing but also builds enthusiasm and motivation for the activity. Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.
In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video. The video features a simple activity that you can do with children to introduce the topic of metacognition and encourage them to think on a deeper level about the various types of thinking they do in school. The “closed door” and “open door” thinking explained in the video prepares kids to participate in reflection activities that empower them to analyze the strategies they use in class, gain a greater awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, and, in general, understand themselves as learners to a greater degree. Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.
In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video. The video features a terrific strategy called “Fact in my Pocket.” Kids who are having difficulty mastering their math facts will benefit from this strategy because of the novelty involved, because the strategy helps kids focus on only two facts at a time, and because it enables children to have a number of quick practice sessions throughout the day. Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.
 

In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video. The video features a warm-up routine that I use with my students at the beginning of our daily Writing Workshop period. The routine has become an important class ritual, and it prepares children’s hands and minds for a productive session of writing. I first learned of this routine from Debra Em Wilson. For more information about Debra’s work, please visit www.schoolmoves.com. Give this routine a try in class with your students or at home with your children.
In this Teaching Tip video I share a short, engaging story that helps kids understand the difference between odd and even numbers. The story features a boy named Steven who wants to play handball at the doubles court on the playground. Steven always seems to find himself the odd person out (literally) until he recruits a new friend to be his partner. The examples in the story bring real-life meaning to the terms odd and even. In addition, parents and teachers will appreciate Steven's kind, inclusive behavior.

Two weeks ago I officially re-launched my YouTube page as the “Teaching Kids” channel and posted my first new video of the school year entitled “Teaching Kids to Transition Back into ‘School Mode.’ ” Each of my new “Teaching Kids” videos will feature 1-2 minute tips for educators and parents and will address a wide variety of topics that focus on teaching the whole child, including academics, character, and health.