Part III - Fundamental 5 - Recognize and Reinforce and Writing Critically

Welcome back!

This is my final book review post on the Fundamental 5.  If you would like to read the two previous blog posts, please click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.  So, I've had a little less than three weeks to get to know my classes this year, and I can tell you that the Fundamental 5 has truly transformed me as a teacher.  Today, I will discuss the last two components for implementation in your classrooms.

So often, only the highest achieving students are recognized for their academic successes.  The chapter "Recognize and Reinforce" not only emphasizes the importance of recognizing the journey to success, but also how to keep these positive  behaviors occurring on a regular basis.  The authors of the Fundamental 5 cite research conducted by Marzano on the integral part of recognizing effort and the impact it has on student achievement.  On a more personal note in my classroom, I often emphasize the importance of "grit."  I love this TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth to help understand the power of grit.

Not only should we praise our students for their efforts, it is important to have the praise be both personal and specific.  For example, just yesterday I was trying to roll a cart full of lab materials out of my classroom and into the hallway.  Two students could see I was struggling to open the door and push the cart at the same time.  One of the students held the door for me.  It was a very kind gesture, and even though I didn't know the student's name, I was sure to turn to him and thank him for holding the door.  Instead of simply just saying "good job,"  or "thanks" I praised the behavior by name (specificity) and looked directly at the student (personalization).  This simple act of acknowledgement not only will promote this positive behavior from occurring again, but his friend that was walking with him would also be more likely to repeat the same behavior in the future.

The final chapter in the Fundamental 5 entitled, "Write Critically" takes us through the importance of writing as an integral part of the classroom culture.  Through writing, students can construct meaning and purpose to the content learned.  Writing critically can occur in a variety of ways including: lists, comparisons, mind maps, exit tickets, etc.  No longer does writing critically simply encompass essay writing.  According to the authors, the critical writing that takes place in your classroom must have the intent of creating abstract thoughts into concrete understandings.  The very act of students writing critically about a concept can quickly transform a typical "chalk and talk" lesson into student-centered learning.  Furthermore, the rigor of the lesson is immediately raised due to student reflection and it allows for a great formative assessment if the writing pieces are collected and reviewed by the teacher.

It is my hope you have truly enjoyed my book review of the Fundamental 5.  In the last three weeks I have been working hard to implement all practices on a daily basis.  Not only have I seen quite an increase in student respect, but it has allowed my students to feel empowered to do well.  It has truly made me think about how to transform my teaching and to make my classroom a fantastic learning environment for all students.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it!

Happy teaching!
Karen (MsRazz ChemClass)