Peggy Hart, a teacher from Massachusetts, writes in to propose a homework assignment with a social element, in order to draw students into identifying sentence fragments and run-on sentences. “We are always asking students to self-edit their work for spelling, punctuation, run-on sentences, and the like,” she writes. But instead of having them practice on a page full of sentences she provides, Peggy asks them to analyze and correct an example from their own or a friend’s writing. Take a look at her Grammar Homework Fire-Starter and send in your thoughts!
What are your chances of passing a 10-item True-False test if you randomly guess the answers? What are the odds you’d get all the questions right? John Bohannon sent in his quick and catchy way to get kids thinking about statistics and probability, across the curriculum. (He uses it when they’re working on an opinion survey in social studies.)
Check out our Resources page for a growing library of Fire-Starters — the kind of “grabber” that helps draw kids into challenging material. Send in yours, and I’ll mail you a complimentary copy of Fires in the Mind!
A seventh-grade teacher said that “The Inner Life of a Cell” — a fantastic eight-minute animation from Harvard University — had her students riveted with its mix of science and art. Thanks, Bonnie!
A veteran history teacher sent in this great skit that gets students interested in the Cold War arms race. I call those “fire-starters” because they light fires in kids’ minds—motivating them to wonder, to explore, and to want to take the next steps toward real mastery. On our Resources page, I’m collecting a library of those fire-starters for teachers. If you take a moment to send me your way of drawing students into a learning challenge in your subject area, I’ll mail you a complimentary copy of Fires in the Mind. Thanks so much for lighting up the conversation!