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Engaging Every Student

November 13, 2019

You Can Do It! Tackle Tenacity with Pear Deck

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Pear Deck Team

Two girls climbing a mountain and one girl helping the other up with a rope

The Pear Deck Teaching Truths are a set of principles that we believe in and have designed to guide you in building positive school culture where teachers can create powerful learning moments for every student, every day. The truths are rooted in our own experiences as educators and school leaders and backed by pedagogical research.

Today we focus on Tackling Tenacity. As we explained in our Teaching Truths introduction post:

Students need to be encouraged to be courageous and resilient. Developing tenacity—that ability to overcome setbacks—means giving my students real challenges, allowing them to fail, and guiding them through the aftermath. Life doesn’t present us with discrete tasks that we ace or fail. Instead, we are continually traversing a path replete with highs and lows, resplendent views and pitfalls. Let’s help our students be unafraid in those stumbling moments, teach them how to get back up, reflect, and keep going.

How can you use Pear Deck to help students tackle tenacity in your classroom? Here are some examples!

Do formative assessments

When teachers use Formative Assessments in class, they can quickly see misconceptions and adjust instruction. Students learn to see an assessment not as a high stakes judgment, but as a way to inform and improve.

Pear Deck is built to allow teachers to move seamlessly back and forth between instruction, activities, and formative assessment. Any Pear Deck interactive slide type can be used to do a quick check for understanding.

Collection of interactive Pear Deck slides

Highlight misconceptions and address them as a class

Being wrong or mistaken isn’t a big deal. It happens all the time! A great reason to do small checks for understanding is to draw out those misconceptions before they become hardened fact in a student’s brain. Here’s how:

  1. From the Teacher Dashboard, you can select the answers you want to focus on by “starring” them. So as students respond, you can star any misconceptions you see.
  2. When you click “Show Responses,” only the responses you’ve starred will appear on the projector screen. Now, focus student attention on the misconceptions. You could even star one misconception and one exemplar, then discuss the difference between the two.
Teacher dashboard on Pear Deck

This shows students it’s okay to not know, and that it’s safe to try—and be wrong. It also shows students how we learn from our misunderstandings and from one another.

Reassess with the "Ask a Question" button

After correcting a misconception, use the Ask a Question Button to allow students to try again with their new understanding. Here’s how:

  1. Click “Ask a Question” from the navigation bar in Pear Deck
  2. Choose “Re-Ask the Same Question”
  3. The exact same slide will appear on students screen, allowing students to respond again. Now you can see if students who were confused came to a new understanding.
Insert a new question screen capture

This shows students that you are more focused on helping them improve than on marking down points for correct answers. It allows them to fully absorb a misconception and process the correct answer in their own words, rather than reading your correction in red ink later. All of this creates a classroom culture in which stumbles, scrapes, and falls are an expected and normal part of learning. These bumps along the way don’t signal failure, but are instead opportunities for students to practice getting back up, brushing off, and starting again.

Insert “End of Class” templates

The Pear Deck “Lesson Builders” help teachers think about the beginning, middle, and end of class. End of Class is a perfect time to help students reflect on the lesson and the biggest takeaways of the day. To use the ready-made reflection templates, open the Pear Deck sidebar in Google Slides or PowerPoint, then click on “Our Template Library.” You’ll be able to add End of Lesson slides directly (in Google Slides) or download the collection to copy into your own lessons (PowerPoint). Then, you can edit the prompt to better fit your class.

Reflecting on learning helps students develop metacognition and helps them be better learners, which in turn helps them develop an academic mindset.

Publish student takeaways and assign it as homework

After class, in the jumble of passing time or after-school activities, all of those great lessons from the day can slip away. You can help students fully process those a-ha moments by assigning some reflection as homework. Here’s how:

  1. When you “End” your Pear Deck Session and give it a name, be sure to check “Publish Takeaways.”
  2. Now each student in class will get their own personalized notes document that contains each slide in the lesson, as well as their individual responses to those questions. There will also be spaces for reflection.
  3. For homework, assign students to review their answers and fill in the spaces provided. You can ask them to reflect on something they learned in discussion about a slide, or to correct a misconception. Assign them to make comments in the doc with questions they have, or new understandings they’ve gained. The comments will alert you so you can respond.
    (maybe link to this video to show how -

By Publishing Student Takeaways and assigning reflection as homework, you once again show students that you are less focused on correct answers and more focused on helping students learn and grow.

A school culture that engenders resilience challenges students to take risks outside of their comfort zones and guides students through the failures that inevitably come with those risks. Tackling Tenacity is about helping students achieve that sense of strength and confidence in their own potential.

Illustration by Kate Moore

This week's blog post and the Pear Deck Teaching Truths were created and written by Pear Deck Chief Educator, Michal Eynon-Lynch.

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Pear Deck Team

Helping teachers deliver powerful learning moments

Pear Deck

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