Troy Patterson

Educator, Thinker, Consultant

Category: China (Page 1 of 2)

Back from China

Well, I’m officially back. I actually arrived on the plane last Monday. However, it took a while to catch up on many projects around the house and work. I also had to get myself back on the Eastern time zone. I still need to do some additional follow up on my China experience. I’ll also be putting all of the posts about my experience in China onto a separate web page. I did want to share a little bit of an overview though.

I’m truly glad to be an American. One that lives in America. The Chinese teachers were terrific people. I truly enjoyed working with them. There were so many commonalities between them and the many American teachers with whom I’ve worked. The Chinese teachers are dedicated people who truly care about their students (just like the American teachers that I’ve worked with).

However, I now truly appreciate fresh, clean air. I love seeing the blue sky. Breathing in deeply is a pleasure. Fresh, clean water that one can drink straight from the faucet is now a joy in life.

I also truly, truly appreciate rest rooms with soap. And hand towels (or hand dryers). And toilet paper.

I’ll be updating the rest of the trip soon. I’m hard at work catching up on work items and enjoying the many pleasures of Michigan.

China Day 10

China Day 10

Starting off with lots of music. A couple of family members of one of the teachers have joined us for the last few days. The Chinese teachers got a kick out of one of the American teachers dancing with her husband.

Next up was an ice breaker. This was men versus the women. Each group had to stand butts on knees of the person behind them. The had to walk as far as possible.

I shared a couple of relational situations with the Chinese teachers. I shared the story of student who was in a lock up facility due to stealing a monkey. I also shared the story of an immigrant who is just starting medical school.

The story of Ichabod Crane was shared via the screen and reading.


Today I covered another Homeroom. The other teacher had the day to explore Beijing as I did yesterday. Her class was very different from mine. I think that mine have a slightly higher level of English proficiency. However, I had a good time with them. We had some technical difficulties with the projector, but worked through that.

I had them review the strategies that they had learned over the past couple of weeks. Then I introduced the Banner to them. The American teachers are having each Homeroom create a banner that explains what that class has learned. These will be posted up in the large meeting room during the ending celebration.

Next, I introduced the lesson plan format to them. We worked through the idea of a student objective. We also talked about summative assessments. I want them to focus on creating those first. Then we will create the actual lesson. They completed their objectives and their summative assessment. Next, the Chinese teachers finished creating their lesson plans by adding in the details of their lesson. Specifically, they added their introduction, the student activity and their closing.

China Day 9

China Day 9

We have been provided with an opportunity to visit the Beijing Zoo. The Chinese teachers do not have any more time off. Since the American teachers have teamed up, we split up into three groups. The groups are spread over three days to have a day off. This way, the American teachers can cover for each other. I’ll be covering someone else’s class tomorrow.

This allows the American teachers an extra day to explore Beijing.

Today was my day. I went with two other teachers. We scheduled going to the Beijing Zoo, the Summer Palace, and Silk Market.

Our plans were a success. We went to the the Zoo first thing in the morning. We checked out the Pandas. Next, we wandered around many exhibits and found the lions and tigers. We also found the Elephants, but that was sad. The Elephants were in a caged area that barely allowed them to take a couple of steps. We asked about the Ferry to the Summer Palace, but were told to take the subway. So we were off on the subway to the Summer Palace.

The Summer Palace was a real treat. The beauty is incredible. There is so much to see that we probably could’ve spent a couple of days there. However, we did get a good taste of what was there. At one point, we saw a group of soldiers talking to a man sitting with a sign. It was obvious that he was protesting something. I decided to take a picture. I got just a little nervous when a soldier turned and looked straight at me. However, he neither said nor did anything. In just a moment afterward, the soldiers moved along.

We walked around the Summer Palace for a couple hours. I’m sure that we saw about 20% of what is there. However, the theater area was absolutely gorgeous. The theater is a three story theater with booths on the side for viewing. The colors were beautiful. You could envision a production being performed.

We walked back to a garden area. It was very refreshing to see and smell fresh trees. We also looked at some of the artifacts that date back to 11th century B.C.

Then it was a subway ride to the Silk Market. We did some shopping, then headed out to eat. Silk Market is very much like Pearl Market. However, Silk Market is a bit more like a shopping mall in that each store has walls. Pearl Market is more like a flea market. Both involve lots of bargaining (even though there are signs in Silk Market about not bargaining). I actually preferred Pearl Marketas it seems more like what it really is.

The subway ride back was insane. The line (queue is the British term) to enter one of the subway cars was nuts. Basically, one had to push one’s way onto the subway. The expression packed in like sardines is appropriate. However, we made it onto the subway and back to the Hotel.

I got back in time to stop into the evening session and say “Hello” to some of my students. I did lots of walking, over 25,000 steps, and had a good time.

China Day 8

China Day 8

The Chinese teachers had the day off today. Thus, the American teachers did as well. We decided to head out to Tian’anmen Square for the flag raising ceremony. Unfortunately for me, this occurs at sunrise. That meant a 3 a.m. alarm. That translated to a very short night.

The ceremony was somewhat underwhelming. There wasn’t a lot of pomp or circumstance. Pretty much, it was a flag that was raised. However, there was a pretty big crowd. It was interesting to watch the crowd. The crowd quickly became a sea of technology raised in the air to record the moment. I watched as a very young child, I’m going to guess about two years old, was handed a phone whilst the child was on the shoulders of a man. The child aimed the phone and clicked the record button.

We had to wait around for a while for a restaurant to open so that we could have breakfast. Then our tour guide met us. We were taken on a tour of Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City. Our tour guide seemed to be very knowledgable about the concubines. We got lots of information about them. The Forbidden City is very pretty and impressive, but very touristy at this point. There are lots of things that you can’t actually see. Still, it was impressive to experience. It was nice to share an experience with the other American teachers.

Next we went to Pearl Market to do some shopping. Haggling takes a lot out of me. I know that that is the way that the game is played, but I personally find it tiring.

China Day 7 – Sightseeing

China Day 7

The day started out with “Roar” by Katie Perry. We use this everyday for consistency. It also provides a lot of energy. These teachers are working incredibly hard. Their day is a long day. They start promptly at 8 a.m. The last session ends at 8 p.m. They are truly working incredibly hard. They are learning lots of different strategies, different processes and procedures. They are doing difficult brain work. Starting with something that energizes them is crucial.

You next consist song is “We Are Family”. This time, we had everyone in the auditorium form a huge circle around the room. They could dance, clap along, sing, do whatever. The important part is that they were participating.

I’m a teacher rap – (to Ridin’ Solo by Jason Derilo).

Candy ice breaker. Several students selected between 1-3 pieces of candy. Based upon the candy, they had to answer that many questions. Starbursts were used. The color of the candy dictated the question.

The presentation of Myths and Legends continued. A Story was presented and a graphic organizer was completed.


Bad Joke. What do you call a belt that has a timepiece in it? (A waist of time). I gave them a couple of other jokes, including “Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7,8,9” I wrote this one out on the board both ways. We talked about it.

Next, we gave them time to finish working on lesson plans. They worked very hard on these. One table chose to work together on producing a single lesson plan. A couple of other teachers worked together in pairs. However, most of them worked individually. I’m impressed by the questions that they asked and the work that they did.

Once the teachers seemed to be set with creating their first lesson plans, we introduced them to the Gallery Walk strategy. We posted their lesson plans around the room and gave them post it notes. We had them find their 2 o’clock buddy and visit each lesson plan. On each one they were to discuss the lesson plan. Then each teacher would write out a post it note with either a question or a positive comment.

Once this was complete, we had them gather up their lesson plans and review the comments that they were provided. Then we talked about the Gallery Walk process. We noted that when they first arrived, they said that they wanted to practice their English, learn about lesson planning and learn strategies. This lesson allowed all of them to talk, (instead of one person presenting at a time, all of the teachers were talking and evaluating as they went), create lesson plans, critique lesson plans and see and use a variety of lesson plans.

Presentation of the Homework.

WOW. What a terrific exercise! The teachers did such a wonderful job of the presenting the 23 non-action verbs combined with a children’s song. They sang, they laughed, they clapped along. Almost all of them nailed it. One group didn’t have every member singing (they all participated) and we noted that. Several of the groups were very creative.

Then, we processed why we did it this way. Could we have just told them to memorize the 23 non-action verbs? Sure. We noted the amount of work that they put in. We talked about the joy, the excitement and the energy in the room. We asked them how they felt about the assignment. Then we asked them to compare how they would’ve felt if they were just told to memorize them.

Next we started the process of Collins Writing with them. We gave them their three FCA’s and a formatted paper. They are to take one of their Story Cube stories and expand upon the story. The story must be 125 words. It must use the words appropriately.

Finally, we had them complete their Reflective Notebook. This was a day packed with information and learning.

At the very end, I wrote two rules on the board:

  1. No working on PD tomorrow.
  2. See rule #1.

They got at kick out of the joke. We really want them to relax and take a break tomorrow. They have been working extremely hard. It is time for them to relax and let some of the learning soak in.

China Day 6

China – Teaching Day 6

The American teachers shared a couple more leaf stories. These are really neat and fun to share. It helps us learn about each other while the Chinese teachers are learning about us. It also helps them understand American culture and the teaching process. Every teacher has addressed their professional life and what teaching means to them. This activity really helps address so many things. Not only is this activity good for here, but this is a great activity to really get staff to know each other.

Today’s icebreaker was the telephone game. As expected the story changed drastically through the transmission. We talked about why and how to do this with students. Specifically, we focused on rumors and being clear.

Music was used to pump up the whole group.


Bad Joke. Why did the Baker rob a bank? He needed the dough. We discussed the double meaning of dough. I added the additional joke of I was going to tell you a joke about a broken pencil, but there is no point.

Next, we had them compete in groups of four to make a ping pong ball cross a table. We processed why we did this with them. We asked the teachers why they thought we did this activity. They answered with team building, working together and building community. We also added focus. We asked them where their mood and thoughts were. Then we pointed out that this is an activity that will get kids to forget about things happening outside school (or in the hallways) and focused on schools.

Next we did an activity with a beachball. The beachball has a variety of words and questions written on it. Whoever catches the beachball has to answer the question or use the word in a sentence. Wherever the thumb lands determines the question/word. Thus, the student gets to determine which question/word that will be chosen.

Break ran over a bit as both of us were having rich conversations with different groups of students.

We introduced the idea of writing lessons using the Objective first and then writing the summative evaluation.

The food staff is made up of students. It is absolutely wonderful to see the change in them since the first day. They are much more talkative and expressive now. In one case, I had stopped into the teacher’s office area. I ended up giving a piece of chocolate to each of the kids. One of the kids asked for another piece. It was a great moment. Our translator/TA, who is an exceptionally wonderful college kid, asked me to excuse the kid because “he is young”. He went on to say that asking for more is generally considered rude. I told him that that was pretty much a universal thing. However, it was fine. The kids have been doing a good job and wanted to let them know that I appreciate what they are doing for us.

One of the other teacher’s classes appreciates my bad jokes. They want her to let them know what the bad joke of the day is. Humor is a great way to establish relationships.

Story Cubes. We had a teacher lead the group through the process. She did a wonderful job even though we had to switch the story cubes to action verbs instead of the nouns that they had been using.

Lesson Plans. Next we reviewed the lesson plan format with the teachers. Our focus was having them identify the objectives, standards and then summative assessment.

We also went to Old Beijing. This was a fun outing. We had a large group of several American teachers, some Chinese teachers and some of our Teaching Assistants. We rode the subway to the Old Beijing area. This was about a 40 minute ride. A large percentage of subway riders spent their ride engrossed in their phones. China also has video ads running outside the subway on the tunnel walls. Some of these were hilarious. We arrived and walked a short way to the popular area. This was filled with lots of lights and restaurants. Many of the restaurants had musicians playing in them. I later learned that this is kind of a proving ground for many musicians. The music was very good. We went to a couple of the small shops (we knew that there was one in particular that we wanted to go to). I picked up some leather bound journals. These are very neat and very affordable. We also went to a roof top bar for drinks and to listen to music. Unfortunately, by the time that we got back to the subway, we were too late. We were able to hail a cab and ride back to the hotel.

China – Teaching Day 5

China Day 5

Today we started the large group presentation with the music portion. This is a chance to reinforce the music lyrics and association between music and words. The teachers are very excited and willing to participate with the music.

Award presentations.

As a group, we acknowledge a couple of students from each homeroom. This helps emotionally bind the teachers. It recognizes the teachers. This is an important feature that is all too frequently forgotten.

Leaf on a tree.

Each member of our team has taken a leaf and used it to describe themselves. These were projected on onto the screen and explained. This is a powerful process that really helps us connect with each other.

Music was used again to have teachers to identify words and note them on a graphic organizer.


Once again, I started off the class with a bad joke (Why were the ink spots sad? – Their father was in the pen.) I explained how the pen is used as slang for jail. Interestingly, one of the students also told a bad joke.

We had the teachers replicate the Leaf activity that the American teachers modeled. The Chinese teachers created a leaf with things that described them.

We also introduced an Adjective Name poem. The teachers created a poem using their name and adjectives.

We introduced the Think/Pair/Share activity to them. We described the process and why we do that process. Then we had the teachers Think about how they could create a welcoming atmosphere in their classroom, Pair up using their 8 o’clock partner, and Share their ideas.

After lunch, we had a teacher lead the Story Cube process. The teachers wrote out their paragraphs. Then they shared with their 2 o’clock partners. At the end, we processed just how long it took them to partner up. They were very pleased that they were able to partner up so quickly.

We also completed the Place Mat activity. This is designed to get kids talking and sharing ideas in an organized manner. The idea is to have a placemat for 4 students. The central circle has the main idea/central question. The placemat is divided into 4 squares. Each of the students respond to the main idea/central question for 1-2 minutes. At that time, the placemat is rotated and the students respond (in writing) to another student’s thoughts/writing. The placemat is turned again, and the students read and respond to another students thoughts. This is completed until the writing comes back to the originator. Then, the group discusses the main idea and comes to a consensus about how they want to respond. One student is selected as a spokesperson and shares with the whole class.

We also discussed a couple of other teacher concerns today. We discussed how to provide adequate wait time (we have a teacher who is also immediately raising her hand when a question is asked). We talked about how to deal with those overactive students. We also discussed how to engage and motivate students.

Everyday ends with the teachers responding in a Reflective Notebook to a specific question. Then they complete an Exit card to a specific question. Both of these are determine by the team of American teachers and is consistent across all homerooms.

Overall, the teachers are asking terrific, challenging questions. Their concerns center around having “time” to switch to student centered instruction. Their biggest concern is about the testing that is used to sort the students.

China-Teaching Day 2

China Teaching Day Two

Breakfast is from the Western Cuisine Center. We had eggs, bacon, and hash browns.

Starting off as a whole group. There was an announcement from a Principal that I didn’t understand at all. The teachers have been told that they are only to use English.

One of the American teachers presented their story of creating a relationship with a student. This is important to help establish the professionalism Next up was Myths and Legends. Myths and Legends were introduced. The Myth of the Oaken Mead was projected onto the screen for the students. The idea of foreshadowing and predicting was shared. After the story, the students drew pictures of the main characters. The pictures were shared with the entire group via a wireless camera.

An icebreaker was next up. The Human Knot was the subject. The Human Knot is where the students are group into 2 groups of ten. One group of guys, one of women. Each forms a circle and grabs the hand of two other people in the middle of the circle.

Next up was sharing vocabulary and reading strategies using music. The song chosen was “Hear Me Roar” by Katie Perry. The strategy followed up the Talk to The Text strategy taught last night. The teachers were instructed to use their talking to the text strategy of identifying the new words in the song. The teachers then stood and had movements that went with the vocabulary words identified.

Our Homeroom is filled with terrific teachers. It is amazing how quickly they have become active participants in the class.

We built off the previous day’s lessons by having them work through the Name Game. They lined up in height order, without talking, and then had to say their name. Well, the first person did. The second person then states the name of the previous person and their name. The third person had to say the first person’s name, the second person’s name and then their name. And so on. As we were getting to the end of the line, they pulled Shawn and me into the line so that we would have to participate as well. They definitely would not have done that yesterday.

They have lots of good questions about teaching strategies. We had them pair up by picking a partner. Then, they had complete an assignment that involves two people walking at different paces and when their left foot would strike the ground in unison. Next we processed how they completed the assignment. The answer wasn’t the important part of the assignment, the process was. We had them review how they solved the puzzle. Some of them had worked it out as a Math problem. Some of the them had walked the hallway together to figure it out. Some of them had drawn lines on paper to figure it out. The students shared how they solved the problem while we wrote those out on the board. We also noted learning spaces (on paper and physical space – hallway). The physical space is important because allowing students to use the hallway as an appropriate learning space is unusual for them.

Next we had the teachers complete a Multiple Intelligences survey. They scored their surveys and then moved to appropriate space in the room (we posted a paper with each heading around the room). The interaction with teachers was phenomenal. The teachers are asking questions about implementing the strategies in their classroom already. We are trying to be extremely cognizant about pointing why we are doing each activity.

We’ve decided to start the afternoon out with a “Bell Ringer” activity every day. We introduced the activity of Story Cubes to the students. Story cubes have various pictures on the die. The dice are rolled (there are six of them) and whichever pictures come up are used to develop a story. Although six cubes were rolled, we selected four of the cubes to use. These four cubes were then projected onto the board using a document camera. The four die came up as a wand, an apple, an eye and a clock. We explained that different people would use different words to identify the pictures. The teachers wrote the words down that signified the images for them. Next, they developed and a story with those words. We discussed why and how we use “Bell Ringer” activities with students. We also discussed how this develops over time; how students get faster and better with practice.

Next, we returned to the Multiple Intelligence work. The teachers have a list of activities that align with seven of the multiple intelligences. We had each table review all of the activities for two of the identified intelligences (there are no activities for the Naturalist intelligence). Next, we had each table design a skit, demonstration or other way to describe one of the activities. Given that they have very little context for this, and that they have few models from which to pull, they did an assume job. As they acted out each strategy, the audience had to see if they could identify the strategy.

The evening session was mine tonight. (These are rotated amongst the American teachers with all of the Chinese teachers attending.) I had planned on doing Graphic Organizers. However, working through the Frayer model took long than I had anticipated. I had the student complete a couple of Frayer models and discuss how they would use the them in their class. I believe that it was very successful. The Chinese teachers were excited and demonstrated that it can work in their classroom. The teachers had lots of good questions. Although I had prepared for lots of graphic organizers, we only made it through Frayer Models tonight. Thus, we still plan on teaching the other models, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

As a side note, the Chinese teachers are literally locked into this professional development. They are not allowed to leave the campus at all. I’m allowed to leave, but I walk through a guarded locked gate.

Finally, I had a student asked when we doing the book? There were explicit directions given to all of the Chinese teachers that we would NOT be teaching them “the book”, but rather teaching strategies that could be applied to the book. This is not unexpected. I’ve been asked the same question no matter where I’ve done training.

China Teaching Day 4

China Teaching Day 4

Scavenger Hunt as an ice breaker. The teachers were fully engaged.

Today I want you to think in pictures. The story is that of the Trojan Horse. Draw it out.


Bad joke. I did two bad jokes. I explained both of them. One of the neat things that happened

In order to lay the ground work for the lesson plan format, we had the teachers review a wonderful pamphlet called: Curriculum & Project Planner by Incentive Publications (World Book, written by Sandra Schurr. Specifically, we reviewed both Bloom’s Taxonomy and William’s Creativity Taxonomy. We also reviewed the Suggested Student Products and Performances. The teachers were very interested in this resource. We reviewed several of the options and had the teachers talk about how they would design these projects too. Next, we talked briefly about the optional Assessment Formats. Finally, there is a chart of Sample Learning Tasks. These are organized by subject area.

We shared a lesson plan format with the teachers. My teaching partner modeled a lesson that we then presented to the teachers. The lesson plan format was filled out using the document camera. Next, we presented the lesson. The lesson has two teachers compete using a remote control car. The students compete in how fast they can maneuver the car around. The goal is for the teachers to then describe the car. Those descriptions identify the prepositions.

We had a long conversation and had to provide several examples of why Fast is slow; Slow is fast. This is something that the teachers are very concerned about – just like most teachers with whom I worked.

We also had students select Clock Buddies. We explained how Clock Buddies work and had them identify a buddy for each hour. We shared how this is used to pair kids up quickly. This was another example of Fast is slow;Slow is fast since it is slow the first time, but after that is very quick. Everyone found their 10 o’clock buddy. We pointed out how fast the pairing occurred.

We also had the teachers create a shared story to demonstrate prepositions. The story started with selecting a location. A teacher was selected to do the cover page. Another teacher was selected to do the Word page at the end. Then the first student started the story by saying a sentence out loud. after the teacher contributed their sentence with a preposition in it, that teacher was handed a blank piece of paper to write down their sentence and add a picture. The next student continues the story. The teacher doing the word page writes down each preposition as it is read out loud. At the end of the process, the papers are collected in order and form a complete shared story.

Every day the teachers write in their reflective notebook. This was originally called a Reflective Journal, however, a journal is like a diary in China. Thus, some of the students were hesitant to write in it. Name change to Reflective Notebook solves that issue. These notebooks will be collected.

A couple of observations about the classroom that we are in. The room has a presentation stand, a chalkboard that has two sections, _one slides over the chalkboard or the interactive whiteboard. There is a raised stage in the front of the room as well. There is no teacher desk.

China – Teaching Day 3

China – Teaching Day 3

_Please excuse some of the writing. I’m trying to post as much as possible, but I’m writing in small chunks. I also write in Markdown and my WordPress editor isn’t converting that back to html right now. Thus, you may see odd marks in certain places. I’m also incredibly tired at this point. I may go back at some point and correct grammar and structure, but I think that it is more important to share what is happening._

The large group instruction began with recognizing two students from each homeroom with a trinket. There was lots of applause and praise.

One of the American teachers shared their story of why she is a teacher.

The ice breaker was the shoe in the middle activity. Thirty students were selected to form a circle. They threw one shoe in the middle of the circle. They then have 2 seconds to grab a shoe. Once they grab a shoe and return to the circle, they have to find the owner of the shoe. Once they find the owner, they interview the owner to learn about them. The teachers had a terrific time completing the activity.

A Myth/Legend was shared. Today was “Jason and the Argonauts”. The story was projected onto a very large screen and read by one of the American teachers. The teachers then followed directions to create a life jacket that retells the story.

Music in the classroom was next. The lesson revolved around Walking on Sunshine by Christina and the Waves. An action was associated with a couple of different terms. The teachers acted this out. Then the tie in with Multiple Intelligences was made. Next we reviewed the song from the previous day.

Off to Homeroom.

I started out with a bad joke. “What did Snow White say when her photos did not come back from the lab?”. I had to review the idea of having pictures printed (not a cultural issue, but a generational one). Then I shared the punchline with them – “She said, ‘That’s OK. Some day my prints will come'”. On the board I wrote out the punchline with (prince) underneath the word prints. Then I explained that many jokes in English work because of words that sound the same. I had the teachers complete two Frayer Models using the words prints and prince. This was to practice the skills from last night.

Next we had the teachers employ a Box and Summarize strategy with a piece of text that is in their book. The teachers read the material and boxed each paragraph. Next each table of students were assigned a specific section of the text. They were to become the “experts” of that section. The experts would then go off to the other tables to be the envoys of that section. The tables selected their four experts per table (and the three who would go to other tables). After time to process, the teachers mixed into the tables appropriately. This is one assignment that reminded me of the power of collaboration. As I originally designed the assignment, the teachers would’ve presented to the entire class. One teacher from each group would’ve been talking. This would’ve taken more time and resulted in fewer teachers leading/talking/explaining. By having each table become a talking point, many more teachers were leading/talking/explaining and participating. This also led to the idea of the feat of being wrong. One of the teachers said But we don’t know what to do…”. He meant that this was something new for them.

The teachers provided valuable feedback as we asked them to reflect on their role as a student learning the material and a teacher who would present the material. They had lots of questions. They found the material difficult and asked about students doing this level of material. This led us to a terrific discussion about leveling work. We discussed the ideas of Zone of Proximal Development (though we didn’t use the term). Our discussion focused on the example of children learning to walk. During this class, explosions were heard outside the classroom. The explosions did NOT interrupt the class at all. It turns out that there was a wedding and the explosions were the fireworks from the wedding. One of the questions that came up was the difficulty of the text. The teachers wanted to know about the whether we would assign something like this to our students. They mostly assign stories to their students. We talked about using informational text with students. This also led to the discussion about leveled reading. We shared the idea of differentiating ideas. We also shared the Lesson Writer site. My teaching partner has an account and showed how you can create different lessons by adjusting parts of the lesson. For example, vocabulary can be adjusted based on student need. We also shared Newsela. We showed how the same story could be presented at different levels automatically.

It is interesting the number of pictures that the teachers are taking. Almost all of them obviously have a cell phone with them. They frequently take pictures of the screen as we are presenting, pictures of examples, and even videos. The cell phones are also used for looking up words that they are unfamiliar with.

We did our Story Cubes Bell Ringer activity. This time we did 5 words instead of just 4. We talked about why we upped the number of words with them. They wrote and shared their writing with each other.

We had a rich discussion about learning styles and how long it takes to develop these. Thus, my teaching partner came up with homework for teachers. It took less than ten minutes to present the lesson and provide them with the rules and examples. We talked about moving the work from teachers to students.


  1. Choose a children’s song.
  2. Remove the words and replace with the 23 non-action verbs (listed below).
  3. Include movement.
  4. Groups of 1-4.
  5. You perform in 3 days.

23 non-action verbs.
* am
* is
* are
* was
* were
* be
* being
* been
* do
* does
* did
* have
* has
* had
* may
* might
* must
* can
* could
* shall
* should
* will
* would

Interestingly, many of the students stayed after Homeroom was over and we could hear children’s songs playing. There was lots of positive noise and discussion. Plenty of laughter.

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