I really like the idea of prior knowledge stations. I find that many students have very little knowledge of a lot of the topics I cover in class before we learn about them and many have little knowledge of tools, finishes, or technical drawing. I expect this and I have in the past asked students as we are doing a lecture or demonstration to offer any information they know what about what we’re covering. However, sometimes I feel like doing this tends to lead my lesson a little off course when kids want to share stores and things like that. Lately I have asked students before we begin a lesson to share their knowledge so I can get a better idea of what they know beforehand. I would like to in the future set up little stations around the classroom for students to do mini activities that focus on all learning types and combine hands-on, reading, writing, collaborating, discussions, movement, and problem solving activities.
I also think that differentiated choices are a good thing for me to work on. I have been slowly adding in more choices for students to choose from in both daily activities and as extensions. I give students many opportunities for choices in my Enrichment classes such as what activities they’d like to do or what order they’d like to do something, and also I give them 2-3 choices for an activity we’ll be doing a particular day or week and as a group they need to decide. In regular Tech Ed class I allow students the choice to work independently or with groups on many things, and they have freedom to make choices in the detailing of their projects.
How would they be useful to a team or PLC:
I think that these strategies I mentioned and all of the strategies discussed in the book are all useful to a team or PLC because every team or PLC will have a dynamic group of people in it and adults like choices just as much as children do. I feel like teachers especially, who have a lot of routine in their professional lives need variety in professional development opportunities and team collaboration to become better at what they do and to learn new things.