Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about the concept of practice. Practice is essential in every field of study. Practice is most effective when it has meaning, modeling, and monitoring. This means when we assign our students opportunities to practice, there must be some sense and meaning to that practice, some "why" to the work they are doing. There must also be strong models to show students what success looks like. And there must be monitoring, or checking in with students, so that corrective feedback can be given as needed in a timely manner.
Today, I want to focus in on the modeling. Many of us are familiar with the "think aloud" concept, and use it regularly to demonstrate what should be happening inside their minds when doing the work they do. But today I bring up another type of modeling that you may want to add to your repertoire. That is silent modeling. Michael Linsen recently wrote a blog post on this topic called Why Silent Modeling is a Powerful Strategy. In it, he discusses the power of modeling for students without the "think aloud" or talking portion there to distract from the actual act. Of modeling, Linsen writes, "They [teachers] gloss over details. They rush through important steps. They cut short what should be a thorough and engaging process.They also tend to talk too much, adding information that only distract students from learning."
As I think back on some of the "think alouds" I've done in my teaching, I can name times when I've been guilty of all of the above. Linsen provides a possible solution to some of our modeling woes, and that is silent modeling. When done effectively and for appropriate tasks, silent modeling can enhance your instruction in the following ways:
On a related note...
15 Easy Book Character Halloween Costumes for Teachers - Check out this page for some quick ideas for Halloween that don't involve too much distraction or time tracking items down.
Halloween Classics - If you're looking for some good Halloween-themed literature to read and discuss with your class, be sure to check out this page. There are several classic Halloween stories listed with some suggestions for how you can use them with your class. Warning: probably best used in upper elementary.
Halloween: Characters Dressed as Characters - This is a fun Halloween-themed activity that involves some out-side-the-box character analysis. The premise is, you take a character from a story you are reading and explain what they would dress up as on Halloween. The students then back up their ideas by analyzing the traits of the character. They would site evidence from the text (what the character says and does) to justify their reason. This sounds like a fun way to get kids thinking about characters.
I am an elementary instructional coach for the Sioux Falls School District.