TOOT stands for “Teachers Observing Other Teachers.” Teachers are encouraged to do instructional rounds in which they observe other teachers to learn about what is taking place in their classrooms. This is a great way to view various methods of teaching to reach students with different learning styles.
TOOTing can spur ideas that can be adapted to different grade levels or subject areas, or it can give insight to a specific student and how he or she responds to various stimuli in other classrooms. I would like to recognize a few of my co-workers as I share about TOOTing.
I learn something new each time I observe Judith Large’s fourth grade science class. Her students have experienced life as a piece of sediment (rolling dice to determine their fate,) and have modeled erosion (using ketchup to represent lava, an ice cube was the iceberg, a hair dryer demonstrated wind erosion, and a water cup with holes was rain.)
In one lab about “How the tides affect the shoreline,” students learned about constructive and destructive processes. Students observed the effects and different components of the beach system as they moved around a glass pie dish with sand and water. After completing the lab, the students had to write and read aloud complete sentences. As each student read, the class watched as Large checked off each of the vocabulary words in the graphic organizer on the board to hold the student accountable for incorporating all of the vocabulary, and make sure they used it properly.
In each lesson Large teaches, she includes visual, auditory and kinesthetic. The students have a hands-on lab or activity, she verbally explains and uses the board for visual representation and the students write what they learn. This approach can benefit students in all subject areas to reinforce information.
Clare Adams’ fourth grade class did a project titled, “I am.” Each student created a selfportrait with flaps cut into it. Beneath each flap, they wrote poetry describing their personality traits. Students shared their thoughts, beliefs and characteristics. This project sends a powerful message, not only to the students who did the project, but to all the students in the school who view them; you must look beneath the surface to really know a person. This is a great lesson for all ages.
I can never state enough my admiration for our kindergarten teachers. Katy Brennan’s style appeals to tactile learners as student physically move cards to form compound words. This keeps the kids interested and gets them up and moving around.
In Carly Carlough’s room, I observed children in various locations, each group working on something completely different. She sat with a small group with books, utilizing this “stations” time to give more individualized attention to students learning to read.
People seeking investment advice could contact one of Tammy Hardegree’s sixth-graders. They’re doing a project involving buying and following stocks. I recall doing a similar project when I was in school, using the newspaper. Hardegree meets the needs of the 21st century learners by using E*TRADE, and Microsoft Excel. The project is designed to teach them how to use spreadsheets to graph their profits and losses. Students enter formulas and create graphs in Excel.
Andrea Skloss facilitates learning that reaches tactile learners in her middle school science classes. I observed her students doing a “soil dance,” which is, she said, “an interactive way to relate the concept of porosity of different earth materials such as gravel, sand and clay.” The students went outdoors and physically demonstrated this concept. While one group of students stood and represented the sediments, another group of students became the water filtering through the pore spaces of the different material types. The students learned as they interacted. This physical demonstration is an example of the type of learning that stays with you.
The days of lecture and learn are over. Teaching methodologies are always changing with new findings and technological developments. Port Aransas teachers are on their game, constantly seeking new ways to teach students of varying styles of learning, and successfully meet the needs of all students. TOOTing helps spread the wealth of knowledge.
Philina Martinez teaches Spanish and art in Port Aransas ISD.