Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Using repetition to help children master information and skills is nothing new in the world of education. What is new?
Increasing numbers of teachers create websites and blogs with information that is linked/repeated.
Teachers on the technology radar post frequently and repeat their online addresses for their target audiences – students, parents, colleagues.
Teachers’ blogs and websites may also include:
# reminders to log on daily to the blog
# classroom updates
# homework assignments
# calendar of upcoming events
# motivational phrases to encourage students to stay focused and on task in school and during homework time
# suggestions for parents on how to help their children be successful in school
# summary reports on effective strategies for classroom management
# personal notes that relate to school activities
# additional contact information
# creative eye-catching graphics and standout fonts to draw attention to their blogs or websites
like this one…
Will Richardson, author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (Corwin Press) asserts that thousands of teachers use technologies, including Blogs, to create forums for interactive learning.
More repetition on the technology radar – I know of several fifth grade teachers who write blogs that challenge their students to:
- go back, re-read and repeat probing questions that require additional research to dig deeper into class assignments.
- rewrite drafts
Students who do extra work get extra credit.
Online, of course, any website or blog is open to a worldwide audience, but the teachers I know who have created these communication venues are mostly writing to get the attention of their own students.
These teachers don’t just repeat their online addresses online; they post their website and/or blog addresses in their classrooms on the blackboard or white board.
They also include eye-catching links on both sites and they include their blog addresses at the close of e-mail messages they send to parents.
Technology options for interactive learning and communication aren’t limited to blogs, websites and e-mails. Richardson identifies six additional technologies in what he calls, “the teacher’s toolbox” that “promise to change the way we teach and learn.” These include Wikis; Rich Site Summary (RSS); Aggregators; Social Bookmarking; Online Photo Galleries and Audio/video-casting.
Whooa! Even teachers who are recent graduates of schools of education may need tutorials to master the Read/Write Web. Educators who began their careers during the Web’s early years or before it was even born may sometimes find the prospect of learning how to use these technologies daunting.
A big motivation to embrace some or all of tools in the Read/Write Web is that the content and graphics teachers write and create for one tool can be transported easily to another.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to help fifth grade students focus on the key points of a historical document in your Social Studies curriculum. You can format the key points in a post on your blog and copy the post to your website, encouraging students to visit both. You may also invite them to interact with the information by posting comments.
Not technology savvy and maybe not a techie wannabe? No problem! There are plenty of ways to focus student attention on learning with creative repetition that’s technology-free. Let’s go back to the Social Studies lesson…
Here are a few tech-free tricks to try:
- Make a colorful poster with the key points of the historical document.
- Break up the key points into pieces that students can collect in a classroom scavenger hunt.
- Copy the poster, cut it into puzzle pieces and invite students to put the puzzle together.
There’s no question that creative repetition gets attention and helps children master information and skills.
What works for you? Please send comments and subscribe to attentionology.com so that we can share effective tools and tricks to catch and keep students’ attention.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Look for a new International Festival of Attention-Grabbers here tomorrow.
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet