All Posts by Todd Finley

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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Brain Blast: Reduce Classroom Commotion

Causes of Classroom Management ProblemsReduce Classroom CommotionWork is too Hard or EasyIf work is too hard, kids resist. If it’s too easy, they become lethargic and crabby.Moving into GroupsWhen transitioning from independent work to group-work. Students should know which direction they should move, how fast, whether they are trading seats or moving their own chairs, […]

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7 Reader Response Journal Prompts

Here are 7 reader response journal activities that work for either narratives or expository texts. “Reader response is a school of literary criticism that ignores both the author and the text’s contents, confining analysis to the reader’s experience when reading a particular work,” according to Chegg.com. Wolfgan Iser’s explanation is deeper: “This is how it […]

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Brain Blast: Nervous Presenter Hacks

I used to be a nervous public speaker. That’s what happens when your aims exceed your abilities. After many years, I discovered some ways to feel more relaxed and effective. These tactics are identified in today’s Brain Blast.  The link below is an “affiliate link.” If you click on the link and buy the product, I will […]

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Brain Blast – How to Curb Non-Academic Smartphone Use in the Classroom

One of the wonders and frustrations of the 21st century classroom is the ubiquity of cell phones. Students are addicted to them, which makes focusing on (non-smartphone related) academic work difficult. Today’s Brain Blast lists a few strategies you can implement to help students follow your classroom smartphone rules.  The link below is an “affiliate […]

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Brain Blast: How to Model the Tough Stuff

Modeling concepts, skills, beliefs, performances, or dispositions is a major component of 21st century teaching.  This brain blast notes some of the fundamentals of explicit modeling when you expect students will find a lesson challenging.  The link below is an “affiliate link.” If you click on the link and buy the product, I will receive […]

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Index Card Journal Options: Structured Reflection or Sketchnote

I like to give my college education majors options for how they reflect. Such is the case of the Index Card Journal assignment–which can be turned in as structured reflection or sketchnote.The post also provides models and rubrics.​ Also, feel free to copy and modify the handout for your own purposes.Insta-ResponseHere’s how I am setting up my responses […]

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Brain Blast: 5 Practical Index Card Activities

As enthusiasm for classroom technology increases, we can forget how tactile, useful, and shareable index cards are. The brain blast below describes 5 activities that can be done with notecards. When a stack of 100 3×5 notecards (affiliate Amazon link) are dirt cheap, what are you waiting for? The link below is an “affiliate link.” If you […]

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