High Leverage Activities : easy to do, big impact
Teachers often ask me for recommendations and suggestions for things they can do right now that work. Here are several things that all teachers can do with relatively little effort, reaping huge rewards in terms of student involvement and accomplishment:
These High-Leverage Activities can be done WITH OR WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY:
1. Establish an atmosphere of mutual respect
2. Know and use each student’s passion
3. Help every student “become” something better every day
4. Partner more, tell less
5. Employ peer-to-peer frequently, and in many forms
6. Circle the chairs for discussions
7. Don’t have every student do the same task—assign different students multiple, different (and complementary) roles simultaneously, then pool what they do to help all learn
8. Use “Imag-u-cation” frequently (I.e. Ask ” If we had [whatever] technology, how would be use it?”)
9. Encourage Ipsitive (i.e. always trying to beat your personal best) thinking and evaluation
10. “Shadow” kids during the day to see what school is really like for them
These are some High-Leverage Activities you can do WITH TECHNOLOGY:
1. Have a “tech corps” in every class and school
2. Use video just as you would use writing—Make, and have kids make, videos every day.
2. Focus mostly on POWERFUL (not trivial) uses of technology [See Powerful Technology Uses]
3. Record and “flip” all lectures; use all class time for helping individual kids
4. Use the students’ devices in your teaching (BYOD) . Be sure you and they know and make use of all the capabilities they have in those devices)
5. Have the students find useful videos and apps for the class to use (instead of the teacher spending time searching for them.)
7. Share everything that works by making and posting short videos on You Tube
8. Bring the outside world into your classroom daily (via RSS, Skype, Video, Twitter, etc.)
9. Make real, ongoing connections with people outside the classroom.
10. Get (and give) constant feedback. Use polling, whenever possible, to do this.