By Holly Teich
Second Grade Teacher
This year the second grade teachers are pulling together as a cohesive unit. We are inspired by the notion that “these are all our kids”. Together we are utilizing our talents to strengthen our teaching, and therefore strengthening the students’ learning.
What is Power Hour?
We are getting to know each other’s classes by implementing a Power Hour. Power Hour is a period of time (i.e. an hour) where students are given an opportunity to work on a specific skill or topic that fits their needs.
How does Power Hour work?
Currently we are using Power Hour in the area of math. We have done this a couple different ways. One way we’ve used it is grouping students based on common data. After analyzing the data, we compile the topics our students need, then place them in a classroom that can meet those needs. Sometimes this need is in the area of enrichment. In this model each teacher takes a topic, creates an engaging lesson, and then delivers that lesson to students.
The second model has a few differences. In this model we still look at common data, and come up with areas of student need. We identify the teacher’s strength to best match those areas. Students then stay in their homeroom group and spend 30 minutes with each second grade teacher. This gives students six learning opportunities over the course of two days.
What are the benefits to Power Hour?
All people, teachers included, have strengths and weaknesses. Power Hour allows us to play on our strengths and give the best learning experiences we can. In addition, students now have a connection to all six second grade teachers. Students are exposed to six different styles of teaching. Who knows, maybe one teacher really hits home with a student, and now they feel more connected to learning and school.
How often do you offer Power Hour?
Right now we offer Power Hour about once a month. The students are familiar with the routine, and have given us positive feedback along the way. Meeting monthly works well with our classroom schedules, and allows students to have a “mix it up” day while still learning.
Does Power Hour only work for math?
No! It would be ideal for many, if not all, subject areas. In fact, we are going to try our first ever Writing Power Hour during the month of May. This is especially exciting because we, as teachers, are going to choose a trait (there are six) that we feel confident teaching, and then teach it the same across the board to all of the second graders. This ensures that all students get the same valuable lessons.
Power Hour extends our Second Grade community
As staff members we are seeing positive changes in our 2nd grade community. We are able to know each student’s name and connect to all students — not just the ones in our classrooms. The students are seeing us as a cohesive unit, and they are very aware of our grade level expectations. This has been a great way for us to work together and build a second grade family.