The principal slams the door open and skids into my high school English classroom, sweating and red-faced, eyes darting across the room. Most students barely notice him come in; they’re all standing in clusters rehearsing opening remarks and giving each other pep talks. The two young women closest to the door look up at him, eyebrows raised, and then scan the room to see who’s in trouble.

 

 

“What’s happening….” he trails off. “Oh…I…thought. Um. What are you guys working on?”

A student silently points to the board. “Final debate prep begins now!” warns the SMARTBoard, with a timer ticking down the seconds until the main event.

“We’re getting ready to debate about these uniforms you got us wearing,” and I saw the realization pass across his face. The class was buzzing with energy, but was decidedly not out of control.

The principal finally leans in to me and says, “I thought they were fighting but…this is good noise,” as he walks out.

For decades, students were told to be compliant, to speak only when spoken to, and teachers with noisy classrooms were considered ineffective. Today, we know it’s more nuanced than that. Sure, kids shouting over each other or disrupting quiet work time is still inappropriate. But increased student talk time has also been proven to be an indicator of classrooms that breed inquiry, engagement, and achievement.

That “good noise” is fostered by curriculum with explicit instruction and practice with speaking and listening and collaboration skills. Debates, group projects, Socratic seminars, presentations, or competitions are all fertile ground for the development of academic skills alongside key social emotional competencies. Kiddom’s planning and assessment tools make it easier to give students ownership of their learning.

Use Planner to create Playlists, or groups of resources, to increase the amount of accountable student talk and engagement.

  • Students working in groups can be assigned individual roles based on their strengths and growth areas. For example, make a playlist for the “Presenter” that has exemplar speeches, checklists for rehearsing and soliciting feedback, and worksheets for anticipating audience questions. Each role gets their own, specialized playlist once the students have chosen or been assigned.
  • Provide student choice in topics for writing or research projects. Simply create Playlists of key texts and drag and drop them to your timeline to assign them to the students who chose each topic.

Teach Social Emotional Learning Skills in Context

  • Align assignments to CASEL’s social emotional standards and use pre-loaded SEL rubrics in tandem with academic standards to give students feedback on their ability to negotiate conflict with peers, communicate clearly, or seek help when needed.
  • Kiddom has pre-loaded speaking and listening standards from the Common Core or your state — assess students on the content of their presentation and on their ability to communicate.
  • Create custom standards in Kiddom to move students towards a class culture goal.

Beautiful Reports Support Student Self-Advocacy

  • Use Kiddom’s simple but detailed mastery reports to conference with students in groups or individually about their progress, gain insight into their perspectives, and use the information to tailor instruction further.
  • Kiddom’s student dashboard also makes it easy for them to log in at any time and see how they are doing, send a message to teachers for help, or guide their study focus.

We know that this work is easier with a support network. Kiddom provides PD on a range of topics including standards-based grading and social emotional learning. Request a Kiddom demo or PD support here.

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