All Posts by Todd Finley

Brain Blast: Time Savers for Teachers

We all know that teaching is demanding physically and mentally. But the king of all stress comes from unforgiving time demands. The planning, the meetings, the grading, and all the communication with parents. All that means you have a lot to stay on top of. I hope some of these strategies save you time that can […]

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Brain Blast: How to Increase Classroom Rigor

Academic rigor challenges students to deeply and creatively master skills and content. Here are 12 ways to make that happen in your classroom.  DO NOWStart class with a 5-10-min. exercise, where kids write answers to questions they “struggled with on the last interim assessment.” (Source: Connie Molony) EXPAND VOCABULARY“Expect them to use academic and domain-specific […]

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Brain Blast: How to Make Lectures Interactive

BEFORE THE LECTURE   ASK A SETUP QUESTION Pose a question about the topic that can only be answered if students listen closely to the lecture. TWEET QUESTIONS Ask students to tweet a question they have about the topic, and make it your mission to answer the questions in your presentation. ACTIVATE SCHEMA Ask student […]

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Brain Blast: Classroom Post-It Note Activities

Here are several ways to use Post-It notes in your classroom. SET DAILY GOALS Kids affix Post-it® notes of their daily goals to a whiteboard upon entering the classroom. (Source: Megan Skogstad via Play.Learn.Share.) SEQUENCE IT Stickies are great for constructing flow-maps. FILL-IN-THE-BLANK Kids complete cloze statements on a whiteboard with stickies. STICKIE CHARTS For […]

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How to Facilitate Student-Centered Instruction

23 Ways to Facilitate Student-Centered Instruction1. SUPPORTS METACOGNITIONLearner-centered instruction helps students think about their teaching during learning events.2. WHAT DO THEY LIKE?Interests and affinities are assessed through inventories and pre-testing3. STUDENTS MAKE DECISIONSKids have a say in what, when, and how they learn.4. PROVIDE STRUCTURE WHEN NEEDEDSome students need more support and direction.5. GAMIFY ITActivate […]

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Feedback Strategies for Those Who Work with Teachers

Insight ADVANCE, the company behind the observation and coaching platform used in schools and teacher preparation programs, invited me to develop an ebook that explores research, tools, principles, and best practices for providing inservice teachers feedback on their instructional performance. You can find Feedback Strategies for Coaches and Administrators here. The following companion piece presents some […]

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Neuroscience-Aligned Misbehavior Prevention

How neurobiology informs classroom management is a special interest of mine—one that I recently researched and wrote about for TES in an ebook called, “What is Neuroscience-based Classroom Management?” The guide explores how neuroscience-aligned activities and strategies can help to prevent disruptive behavior in your classroom.As you think about your last year of teaching, ask […]

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BRAIN BLAST: Year Enders

​Here are 13 activities to try on the last class of the semester or year. POP-UP TOASTSDave Stuart Jr. directs students to stand up and identify what they are most “thankful for from this year’s class” or “one funny memory.”MINDMAPHave students create mind maps of what they learned during the past semester.VIDEO TO FUTURE CLASSHave learners […]

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Brain Blast: Active Learning Strategies

Active Learning Strategies”Active learning requires students to do meaningful learning activities and think about what they are doing.” – Michael Prince. Check out these active learning strategies:FEEL IT – Find a way to feel intensely curious about the material so that it sticks in long term memory.REFLECT IN WRITING – Use “quick writes” and “writing […]

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Brain Blast: 6 Different Seating Configurations

The following Brain Blast is based on a book that I wrote with Blake Wiggs: Rethinking Classroom Design: Create Student-Centered Design for 6-12th graders (Rowan & Littlefield). One of the delights of teaching is changing up some of your routines, just for the sake of novelty. Watch what happens when students enter your class and see […]

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