How many times have you taught a skill to your students and you think they have it, but then don't apply it to their work? I know it happens with my students! How about wanting to build metacognition in your students and make them aware of what they are learning? I have found a great way to meet all these needs in what I call "I Can Use" posters. This idea is not mine. My good friend, Tammy from Forever in First, introduced me to it quite a while back. Check out her blog if you haven't already!
After teaching skills and students get to put them into practice, let them sign their name to the skill they used or on a Post It note. I appreciate how this strategy forces the students to think about which strategy works best for them or works best for that particular situation. Little things that drive us crazy like missing capitals or ending punctuation can be handled this way by handing over the responsibility to the student. I particularly like using the I Can posters for using reading strategies. I expect my students to learn different strategies and to know which one will work best depending on the word or situation.
My second graders have been reading informational text and how authors place text features in the text to help us understand the information. Having them sign as to which text features they were using helped to solidify that learning.
In my first grade groups, we have been reading some fantasy stories and I don't want them to lose skills we have previously learned. The I Can poster comes in handy to remind them to be thinking as they read and use the skills they have been taught. Thank you, Tammy, for the great idea!
You can use these I Can posters for so many different skills. Our school has started a new teacher evaluation program and one of the indicators the administrators will be looking for is whether the teacher is checking for student understanding and mastery. This is a quick and easy way for students to show understanding in a lesson by writing their name on a board or sticking a Post It note to the skill used.
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