Most teachers we talk to agree that their students struggle with critical thinking, problem-solving ability, and reasoning. We also know that many students lack the skills they need to read information, extract important points within the text, and synthesize what they have read (Barrow, 2006).
Think back to your first year of teaching. Whether you had just graduated from college where you majored in education or had completed an alternative certification program, most people can remember their first year of teaching like it was yesterday. At the end of your first year, your sense of satisfaction came from surviving all the unexpected trials you encountered. You were required to observe master teachers and take notes on how they ran their classroom. So, what made their classes good?
One of the biggest challenges teachers face in the classroom is ensuring learning for all. What do I do if some of the students get it and others do not? How do I challenge the students that grasp the content at a faster rate than other students? How can I support my struggling students who get lost early in the material but do not ask for help? How can I challenge my students to think critically and problem solve? What activities can I use to provide my students with creative opportunities while still interacting with content?