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Literacy Retreat 2018


Captivate the Interest of the Under-Motivated

Describe the learners

Classrooms include a wide range of learners. Some are intrinsically motivated and others are easily frustrated.

Consider the impact of the instructor

Regardless of the students’ level of motivation, engaging instruction makes a positive impact on achievement.


Maximize brain & body connection

Redefine bell work/morning work.

Detail the procedures, along with tips and cautions, to make this activity run smoothly

Pairs review previously taught content using fun and funny movements.

STAND UP–Discuss the answer to a review question while executing the designated method of delivery.
SIT DOWN–Teacher shares (e.g., I heard…), confirming information and clarifying understanding, as needed.

Grade 2 Content Review

Review how voting affects communities

Review how businesses help communities

Review how money moves through communities

Grade 4 Content Review

Review the advantages of railroads

Review Indiana entrepreneurs

Review immigrants’ affect on the economy


Flexible environments enhance learning

Use furniture as objects in the service of learning.

HORSESHOE: Whole-class conversations are best when students can see each other.

PAIRS/SQUARES: Students think individually and share with a partner. Then two pairs discuss as a small group.

REPRESENT: After discussion time, a representative per group goes to the front of the class to share out.

FISHBOWL: Small group (i.e., fish) is encircled by remaining students (i.e., bowl)

Fishbowl Procedure | PPT | PDF

Provide various seating options to honor students’ age and energy.

For more information on flexible seating, check out

Teacher Joni Long provides a variety of seating options for her fourth graders at Ox Bow Elementary (Elkhart, IN).

Teacher Stacie Short provides flexible seating in her math classroom at Concord Intermediate School (Elkhart, IN).

Establish procedures and expectations with a flexible seating environment.


Learning sticks when we ingest & digest the content

Turn & Talk for 6-10 seconds to generate a quick answer with a partner

Pool thinking with peers and converse in writing

Introduce Think, Ink, Pair, Square activity procedures.

Incorporate the 1-2-3 Show Me strategy in a Q&A session to up participation during content review. Download a set of the Hold-Up cards and make a laminated set–one per student. With the cards on a ring, students flip to their answers, hide their selections, and wait for the teacher to say “Show me.”

The same strategy can be applied with whiteboard apps on their individual devices. Rather than choosing a laminated card, students write their answers on the whiteboard. Then they reveal their screens when the teacher says “1, 2, 3 Show Me.”

Apply 4 Talk Moves in whole-class discussion