I have now read the first five chapters of Gabriel’s book. In chapter 4 the topic was classroom atmosphere. Much of the chapter focused on learning student names and effective attendance policies. Gabriel makes a good point about the impersonal nature of sign in sheets for attendance. She describes many teachers who use videos or photos to learn student names right away. While I know of teachers who do this I can’t imagine myself being organized enough to pull this off practically. A more practical idea is to use name tents (folded papers) until you learn the names. Attendance is taken by seeing who did not claim their tent.
Chapter 5 is about learning styles. It does not discuss adjusting classroom presentation to meet various learning styles. Instead it tells how some students changed how they studied based on the outcomes of learning style inventories. I did not know that some online learning style inventories gave study suggestions at the end. As I read the chapter I was also reminded that mind maps can be used to help students avoid surface learning and achieve deeper learning. The chapter also reemphasized that practicing retrieval and reformatting information are some of the best ways to learn. I could create assignments that cause students to rework the information to help them learn. It has not escaped me that this blog essentially is my vehicle for doing the same thing.