With a little extra time on my hands, I thought I would finish some of the books I started. Okay, I joke. I really don’t have extra time. But I have no pressing reading deadline to meet due to another book study assignment. Which means I have time to read, finish, and review a couple books.

So, let be begin this new journey with the last book that we did as part of my New York State Master Teacher book study group.

We read “Powerful Teaching” by Pooja Agarwal and Patrice Bain.

I found it an easy and somewhat quick read, which for me is a surprise. Whether that means the large type size or the content made it a faster read, I’m not sure. But I was definitely deep into reading the content.

I have been really working on my teaching style and student ownership of learning. This book gave me some really interesting ideas and ‘Power Tools’ to integrate into my classroom. I have already done a couple of them with students.

Many of my students, because we started them mid-year and as part of online learning, were confused by the work. But I did see positive value in these tools – from both student and teacher perspectives.

I am definitely rethinking my peer accountability form from this year, to include a summary activity for each day. I’m thinking of writing them into the form, so there is no question about the activity, the purpose, and the need to Think and Pair (perhaps even share – when time permits).

Although, some of my colleagues found the back and forth examples confusing and the research data suspect. Perhaps I was too busy reading the ideas, but the practice-what-we-preach did bother me, to the point I skipped over a number of the boxes throughout the book.

I still feel there was value in the ideas of creating low-stakes activities that push students throughout the year to recall information.

One of my favorite ideas was the concept of Retrieval Note-Taking. I do know that students copy from the slideshow or notes I outline on the board. They do not listen to the extras I say or the nuances I add to the story being told. I really like the idea of students listening then recording the details when we pause (or at the end). Not only forcing them to listen, but to recall, and be selective to what is truly of value. (Note: I know modifications with guided learning will be needed for IEP students.)

Definitely, a book with some valid concepts and ideas. I’m going to incorporate some into my learning opportunities for next year.

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Spring Reading Reviews: Powerful Teaching

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