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Momentum “The concept of momentum pertains to the smooth, ongoing flow of events in the classroom. Teaching is full of pitfalls to momentum. When pitfalls occur, student’s concentration is broken. They are distracted from or prevented from becoming involved in learning activities. They experience ‘downtime.’”- Saphier and Gower RTB, 1997
Categories of Momentum • Provisioning • Overlapping • Fillers • Intrusions • Lesson Flexibility • Notice • Subdividing • Anticipation
Provisioning • Have things ready to go- including instructions • Use activators • Promote self-sufficiency • Provisioning is conspicuous by its absence Example: You want to present a slide show on Rodin’s “The Thinker”, then plan a field trip.
Example of an Activator Identify the figure below: a koala bear climbing a light pole b. a superstitious giraffe throwing salt over his shoulder c. hardening of the arteries d. an elevator door closing with curious ghosts looking out
Overlapping • Overlapping is the ability to manage two or more parallel events simultaneously with evidence of attention to both. • It it is necessary to: • Keep in touch • Help students over blockages • It requires “with-it-ness” Example: Jose is flinging chestnut innards in every different direction.
Fillers • You are caught with short periods of time where nothing is planned. • Additional resources may not be available • You may not have enough time to start another activity • This requires a repertoire Example: You have finished reviewing the expository writing assignment on “Heartburn” and there is 10 minutes left in the period.
Intrusions • You may need to address student needs • You may need to • Clarify directions • Settle disputes • Handle visitors • This requires that you “match” your response to the intrusion or to the situation Example: Sarah is “p-----d”. Her child care showed up late and Joshuae is asking her about a project they are doing together.
Lesson Flexibility • What to do when a lesson bombs. • The more you try to “press on” the worse it gets. Example: Your bundt pans are defective. They are too thin, so everything sticks.
Notice • Students are not prepared for transitions • They feel • They are not ready for closure • They are heavily invested in their activity and may not even heed advance notice • This is prevalent in artistic endeavors • You will need to create an effective transition Example: Students are peer editing a PowerPoint they are preparing for tomorrow’s presentations. They need to report out to the group to decide on order of presentations.
Subdividing • There may be physical bottlenecks and other impediments that require dividing students into smaller groups • The larger the class, the more you need to anticipate this occurrence Example: You are working though a unit on salmonella. You realize that students cannot distinguish between a bacterium and toxin. They also think that all bacteria are bad for you.
Anticipation • The teacher anticipates trouble spots with procedures or people • The teacher makes moves to sidestep trouble spots • Removing temptation • Allowing students to save face • Avoiding certain combinations of personalities Example: Jana refuses to work with Brianna because they have a history. You hear the “B word.”
The Cover-All • Know your students - allowing matching • Pay attention to beginnings, endings, and transitions • Keep your radar on- intervene Reference Saphier, Jon and Gower, Robert (1997). The Skillful Teacher. Acton, Massachusetts: Research for Better Teaching, Inc..