School started three weeks ago. We spent several days building class culture. Things like building card towers, Flipgrid to introduce ourselves to each other and Human Rock, Paper, Scissors. I learned a lot about the students and they learned about me. Even though there always feels like there's a need to "get things going", I decided we weren't ready for academics. Thankfully I had found Eduprotocols by Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo.
I have been lucky enough to see Jon present several of the eduprotocols over the last couple of years and had implemented one or two here and there. However, I hadn't really spent time with the why behind them or how I could use them effectively in my class. So this year, I decided to start the year off right.
We began with Frayer a Classmate. Students got to interview each other to learn what they liked and disliked. They found more in common with each other than if they had just walked around the room "Finding Someone Who", a frequent beginning of the year activity that I have used for years that really doesn't help anyone bond as a class. The best part of this activity was I got a bunch of information about my students that I would never have known without the activity. Now that the students have used the eduprotocol, I can use the same format for vocabulary words and content note-taking.
Next we tried the Iron Chef Slides. This is an activity I had done last year that the students really couldn't connect with. That was completely my fault. I hadn't showed them the benefit and ease of doing it. In a nutshell, the students (in groups of 4) split content and report as a team, similar to the Jigsaw method that has been utilized in many classrooms over the years only digital. We started with basic (read FUN) content this year to get the kids invested in the process. Our first Iron Chef was on Disney. What's more fun than that. When the kids told me they didn't know something to use in their particular slide (a common comment for the DisneyWorld slide since we live in Ca and an hour away from Disneyland!), they were amazed to learn they could look up the information on the internet and I didn't have to "teach" them for them to get the answers. As we move into more content areas (prefixes, natural regions of the US), the students are no longer asking how do they get the content and what do we have to do to complete the activity. They are finishing it in record time with great answers that worksheets wouldn't allow me to access.
Our third activity is the Cyber Sandwich. Another Jigsaw type activity also blends Venn diagrams and paragraph writing. Here the students read articles or watch videos that are the same as their partner or similar in content. They take notes then complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting their answers. This information is then used to writing at least a paragraph on the content. Students are able to integrate the information in a more engaging manner than if I had just told them to read the articles or watch the videos themselves. Like the Iron Chef, we started with something fun, The History of Chocolate! How more engaging can you get with students.
The last eduprotocol we are using for now is one I used a lot last year called the Fast and Curious. If you haven't tried Quizizz, I highly recommend it. This is a great one for quick vocabulary activities that can take a lot of class time without much retention. Students take a quick quiz (10 words) on Monday. We go over the answers for each of the words and take the quiz again immediately. Students try to beat their score (gamification at it's easiest). Almost every student can get at least 1 more correct after going over the words one time. We take the same quiz every day for 4 days. If students get 100% at any time of the week, they don't have to take the "FINAL TEST" on Friday. Since we go over the questions missed most often by the class every day, students are retaining the vocabulary without taking more than 10 minutes of class time. Since the goal of school is to get kids to learn the vocabulary and not to trick them, they have many opportunities to do this with the same words. When I did this eduprotocol last year, 90% of my students had retained the vocabulary words a month later. How often can teachers say that?!
There are soooo many other great activities to try in the book. We will be adding more as the year goes on as appropriate for the content. If you are looking for an easy way to get the students using the 4Cs and engaging with the content, I highly recommend checking out the book and website.
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching