Smelly Markers

Jan 25, 2016 | by Janice Smith

We couldn’t be more excited to announce the addition of another batch of videos from Henderson Collegiate this morning.  Head to the library to see some of the newest footage, and stay tuned for their high school footage that will be coming in the next week.

In the meantime, today I’m excited to share a clip from Taro Shigenobu’s 8th grade science classroom.  At the start of this clip we hear him reference a point later in the lesson where he will ‘activate’ the smelly markers.  At the time, I had no idea what this meant.  We then see a jump to the end of guided practice where they get ready to jump into independent practice, and he references this again.

Fast forward to students working independently and Mr. Shigenobu circulating with the smelly marker.  Three things I think are worth noting, and easy to replicate in whatever way best fits your classroom.

1)  As soon as students begin working he is circulating the room and looking closely at their work.  This provides him with in-the-moment data on student understanding, and can help him immediately address student misconceptions.  As they get further along we see him providing academic feedback to students as they work.

2) Notice that what earns a sniff of the smelly marker is work habits, and not correct answers.  While he does provide feedback on the actual work, what earns a smell is the effort and application of work habits that will help lead them to mastery.  #growthmindset

3) I love the way he sells the smelly marker.  Often in older middle school classrooms, and high school, we no longer intentionally focus on building in moments of joy, or j-factor, and this is such an easy in-the-moment carrot that also adds joy.  Plus, his 8th graders love it.

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