Over the years I have become a huge fan of “guided practice.” It’s arguably the single most important part of my teaching. The reason for this is that I’ve seen amazing results from it.Guided practice is just that: guiding kids through practicing the standard. I call this step “welcome to my brain.” I preface it by telling the kids I have taken many tests to be successful in life. I establish myself as an “expert test taker.” Then I get them interested by showing them how I, the teacher, takes tests and scores high. I find the buy in to be almost 100%. I explain that each of us has a computer, our brain, where we do things a special way. They are usually very eager to see how I process things and then they can copy me. I also tell them in time they will have it memorized and if they want they can try their own way.
I go through my mental processes and as we move to independent practice I know they have seen my steps. Then, they ideally use the steps I did to solve the problems on their own. Autonomy is the goal here but it can only happen after it has been modeled over and over through guided practice. It works very well and I recommend it to you as a key part of a dynamite lesson plan. Those kids really do admire the way you think! Be the guide, be the role model, try my phrase: “Welcome to my brain!”