Summary of the videos related to teaching strategies in classrooms

by Carola Deinet-Knittel

Watching and reviewing the three videos

Roller Coaster Physics: STEM in Action

When I watched this video I couldn’t stop waiting for its outcome.

The lesson the teacher Mrs. Donna Migdol offered to her students has been a great one in my opinion, as it shows how to get students into learning and deeper understanding of given tasks.

There have been several strategies the teacher set up for making this classroom project of science (Physics) an effective one.

Key concept of the lesson: “How the world works”

Problem solving: the children discussed how to make the roller coaster work –the teacher had the role of an observer, realizing by assessing individually the pupil’s knowledge, as she kept herself back and had some time to take a few notes related to the individual children.

Team Work: Through team work the whole class got inspired, as lots of discussions came up throughout the whole roller coaster project. The children stayed very focused, and also got ideas from one another. There is one thing that need to be mentioned, what I think is very important: as a student of a group you also need to keep yourself back, let others speak, accept others ideas to get the problem solved, honor others and find new ways to interact and communicate with one another. As you do this as a student you grow in your personality and focus on the outcome of the product- make it work as a ‘team’.

Documentation: Also, the teacher asks for documenting the students’ work. This is necessary, as through documentation problem solving might show up, and also it is a strategy you can assess students’ knowledge and learning outcome in detail.

Enjoy work: The task the children had to solve seemed to be inspiring, engaging and motivating them, while giving them also some positive time together with their peers. I realized the children’s smile and engagement. In class there seemed to be a positive atmosphere during work. When the roller coaster worked they all celebrated it, by raising their arms and cheering joyfully. ‘Together we made it!’ –this seems to be the message of this project! The teacher also talked about fun while working on the marble run.

Life- long learning: The children learn throughout this project for their life, as it enriches their self-confidence, patience, team support and thinking on a high level. The message is a clear one: go, give it a try, find solutions through discussions, and make choices.

Share responsibility: This is another great method to get the students into learning on a higher level. They learn to be responsible for their work and share this responsibility, such as the counter (treasurer) who has been responsible for the finances – just like in real life situations. The teacher has taken this strategy to deepen their understanding of learning, and also for ‘life-long learning’ –if you take over responsibility you need to give the best you can to make it work.

The behavior expectations, in my opinion, are ranked on a high level, as the children need to work closely together and  definitely need to respect one another’s’ ideas, opinions, and methods. Agreements  and rules need to be set up to make the roller coaster project be some successful work in the end!

Academically the teacher held up high performance expectations for her students. The physical level is a high one, and usually lots of input and teaching need to be given to make this kind of science lesson be an effective one. It seems to me that the teacher realized she could ask for more learning, – and throughout this the students achieved a higher level of learning.

I am convinced that this lesson about Kinetics and potential energy management and mechanics (in physics, Newton) gives a lot of learning depth for these students in class, as they learn through practice. Both, learning by doing and problem solving  in a team, are strategies that deepen students’ understanding and learning in my opinion a lot.

Explainer: what makes Chinese maths lessons so good?

To me it seems as if the children of this 3rd grade classroom don’t seem to feel absolutely bored, -they just follow the lesson as they are expected to participate in it –no matter whether they like it or not. But there is no choice given in class to maybe work on a project, or together to problem solve a given math task. The article I read is about how math is taught at Chinese schools – such as memorize the multiplication rhyme. In China it is an old tradition to teach math in this kind of way (it was set up about 2200 years ago), and the Chinese teachers are still convinced that this kind of maths works the best for their pupils, and that routine practice is the most efficient learning method.

The outcome of documentation seems to show and underline this effect. There are highly talented students and adults that are highly valued in other areas of the world.

The main problem related to the teaching strategy I have observed while watching the video is the following:

In my ideal teaching world there exists some good relationship between students and teachers, communication is one of the keywords related to my teaching strategies, and to me it seems that the communication level in Chinese classrooms is ruled, highly structured and organized as if the children are under high pressure and kind of military drill. For sure, there are times in a classroom when the teacher needs to speak in front of the children, maybe write down on the black-whiteboard. But it is also a good practice to move from one to the next place, have a short transition time where the brain could relax for a moment and doesn’t need to focus this much.

I am not the one to value Chinese teaching practices, as we also need to learn to accept others’ cultures, also in teaching strategies. But couldn’t it be that this kind of teaching is also taken into governments’ culture of creating the Chinese population think and do “the same”?

When I was young, we also repeated the multiplication scale often and often- it didn’t do me any harm- I still know most of the outcomes and exercises.

But if talking about how to bring children to a higher level: I am personally convinced that students that are maths oriented, (or maybe not!) will reach a higher maths level if the teaching strategy is related to the real world. In China the teachers don’t show any effort to use maths in daily projects or activities, at my school the children use maths in a variety of ways, such as: go shopping at the market, compare the prizes, organize a shape hunt, go and find shapes on our playground (even with my youngest students!). I personally believe that this kind of learning also brings fun and motivation for the students, and they might reach a similar math level than children in China that are taught in the way of phasing. The teacher in class seemed to have some empathy for her students, but this culture is far away from my way of teaching understanding.

This video show that behavior expectations are also on a very high level, -no matter what a student likes to do- they need to follow the procedure of the lesson. It could well be that misbehavior might be treaten through some punishment, and the student might feel ashamed. So –better move on and don’t disturb- this is the message being set by the video, in my opinion.

Because of the norms and procedures that happen in classroom the learning will take place –no matter whether a student has understood the task, the teacher seems to move on. If there is a mistake (and mistakes are there to learn from them!), the teacher corrects it –that is all! I personally wouldn’t like to teach in this way – I for sure teach absolutely differently!

Whether there is high student performance- I think there is a low one, as the students only react on what the teacher wants them to learn! They repeat and answer all together –so there is shown no differentiation on individual learning.

Whole Brain Teaching Richwood High – The Basics

This way of teaching I have never seen before. It seems as if the whole class is very engaged in movements related to topics, tasks and procedures.

Teaching through movements such as rule number 1, number 4 or 7 gives the students input in a variety of ways. Related to geography, how the students find the exact location of a place; this they learn by demonstrating it with their arms. Also, they teach one another by using movements, such as “the Crazy Professor”, who explains through body language the task to his partner.

What -I think -is another great idea is to improve students’ brain work through reading: two students read one after the next, and repeat, what has lots of effect on their brain as it is in constant focus and concentration on what the opposite peer is doing. In this case the students learn by using their listening, speaking, visual, gross-motor and thinking skills.

All in all there seems to be a positive atmosphere in this classroom, the teacher engages the students to constant learning, and encourages them to work on movements related to what is asked for, include their peers and respectfully listen to one another.

Also, the children smile and are all very engaged in this teaching strategy.

It enhances their learning as there is lots of activity going on, – I am not sure whether it might be too much input, but related to the Chinese lesson it is much more positive and seems to show fun in class as well.

The academic expectations by the teacher are on a high level, as she engages them in understanding the given task. Also, the teacher is observing while walking around the classroom and having a look at what the students are doing.

The behavior of these students is on a high level, as they treat their partner respectful, need to listen to one another and imitate their body language.

Norms and procedures in class are set up clearly, the children know what to do and follow the teachers’ instructions.

All in all I would prefer to teach like shown in the first video, as this is the way of teaching I am quite used to, and I also think that the outcome of learning in this case is a high one.

Even with our youngest learners we try to find solutions in this kind of way, and creating marble runs our little ones like a lot. I have spent lots of time observing them through discussions whether this marble rolls up or down or into a hole or away,……

What about your opinion, dear colleagues?

How can Mobile Devices be sufficiently used for the youngest students?


Today I like to write about how using and setting up mobile devices for my students in class.

The main question related to the topic of mobile devices is the following:

Why should a teacher be prepared to allow or require students to use mobile devices to achieve learning objectives?


Me as a teacher working with our youngest children at school (3 up to 6 year old ones) ask myself the following questions:

  1. Which mobile devices could be used efficiently?
  2. Why would you like to take them for the children’s learning?
  3. What benefit could it be for the students to have digital tools being used for learning?
  4. When is the time to use mobile devices in class –is there a specific time when to set these up for learning?
  5. How best can these mobile devices be used to have the students’ interest, and without overloading them?


I personally think that thee is a limited set of mobile devices for this age of children. We as a team work closely together in answering this question,- and came up with the idea of having cassette/ CD players being used on a daily base in each classroom. The main benefit of this mobile device is a language based one: The children like it a lot to listen to story books, that they could use individually for their learning, such as:”The

very hungry caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. We offer both –the booklet and the story, (and finally a hand puppet – “caterpillar and butterfly”), and mostly there are sitting three children in a row, listening to the story by having an ear phone, and turning the pages related to a signal. They can’t stop listen to this sweet story, and there is quite a lot of language learning as an outcome to this mobile device.

Also, we set up the CD player in the afternoons during quiet-play. During this part of the daily schedule the children calm down while lying on their little mattresses, and listen to the story (such as a fairy tale, or a CD related to a picture book, they have heard during story time the day before). There are stories for native English speakers, but also for the bigger group of children what are a lot of EAL students (English as an Additional Language) we like to use this kind of tool. ( 38 students in all, – 10 English native speakers, others mostly German, Japanese, Chinese and others).

Another mobile device is the use of a computer: if we are searching for some information related to our Units of Inquiry, we type in a question in front of a small group of students ( 4 to 6 students), and related to the topic ( e.g. how do seeds grow into a flower?) we try to search for the answer, mostly using photos, pictures of the internet to be shown for the students’ research. This kind of mobile device won’t overload the children’s attention, and again gives them a lot of language based learning which is absolutely necessary for getting access to some English.

I am convinced that the two mobile devices I mentioned help the students at our International School to grow into learning, and to have a huge benefit from these.

Also we collaborate as a team, and share the benefit of learning of the students on our weekly blog, which is read by most the parents.

This makes our work with their children both, transparent and efficient.

There are the topics related to our week whether in Maths, language, Units of Inquiries


or Natural 

World activities. The parents are asked to give us feedback, and like this kind of communication tool a lot. Also, we are able to share pictures, photographs or movies with the parents and the children, what is highly valued as well, as the worjk from school is made transparent. Transparency brings trust, and this is what I am aiming for when setting up these mobile devices for the families. They have become a big part in our communication and relationship with people from all around the world.


Carola Deinet-Knittel

Leisure Tips On the Middle Swabian Alb

Leisure Tips

On the Middle Swabian Alb

experience nature


Swabian Alb informative


Active sports


biosphere Reserve


The GPS tour I have been organizing is set for 8th and 9th graders: 30 pupils in all, divided in groups of 6 and 1 adult for accompanying them. By bus we will drive to the place called ‘Owen’, and from here start

These principles and best practices I would like to mention related to the Mobile Devices in class:


History of technology in classrooms

The Slide Ruler.

In addition to the introduction of the modern library and the pencil during the 1600s, the Slide Rule was first introduced in 1654 by Robert Bissaker.  The instrument was designed for use by scientists and engineers up to the early 1970s.

The Hornbook.
During the 1600s, the hornbook was used in the classroom as a technology device that taught basics such as vowels and consonants as well as the alphabet.


The Magic Lantern.

The magic lantern was first introduced in 1646 and was also known as the Magin Catacoprica which meant “magic lantern.” Although the device was used in homes and theaters, magic lanterns were deployed in the classroom to enhance learning and student engagement.


Slates and Chalk.
It was during the 1800s that students used slates which were small blackboards that were written on using a piece of chalk. Students used slates in place of pen and paper, even though slates were not very convenient for longer assignments and could only be used to solve short equations.  Then they were erased so they could be used to solve a new equation.

Blackboards were made of slate that was surrounded by a wood border to prevent the slate from breaking.  Slate was the material of choice due to its broad availability throughout the world during the 19th century when mining provided abundant access.

The Calculating Engine.

In 1822, Charles Babbage introduced a calculating engine which led to modern day digital computing.  The engine was created with the realization that a computing device must have input, memory, a central processing unit, and an output device (printer).

The Typewriter.
In 1873 Christopher L. Sholes first introduced the typewriter which also debuted the QWERTY keyboard which is still used on modern day devices and computers used to enhance classroom learning.


The Film Projector.
By 1925, the film projector was making its way into classroom environments.  The projector displayed still images from a film strip accompanied by an audio recording.  The images had to be manually changed as you advanced through the film strip.  This type of technology remained in the classroom until the early 1980s and was used to study a particular topic.

The Radio.
It was also during 1925 that the radio started to be used in education.  Some schools used the radio to broadcast lessons to other schools using a specific radio station.  The first lesson was sent over the radio by the Board of Education in New York City in 1925.

The Overhead Projector.
During the 1930s, the first overhead projector was introduced to the classroom prior to being widely used by the military during World War II. After its introduction, the overhead projector became widely used in the classroom which provided teachers with a more convenient alternative to the blackboard.

In the early 1950s, headphones were introduced to the classroom and were installed in listening stations.  By listening to audio tapes through the headphones, students could easily review lessons and reinforce concepts to be learned.
The listening stations were commonly called language labs which have since been replaced with computers and headphones in the present day.

The Slide Ruler.

It was also during the 1950s that the slide ruler was starting to be used more widely in the classroom.  The slide ruler was the precursor to the calculator and was commonly used to make scientific calculations.

The use of the videotape in the classroom also emerged during the 1950s when the first videotape demonstration occurred in California.  The videotape was shown using an Ampex tape recorder that kept the narrow tape redeploying at 360 inches per second.  It was not until a few years later that the wider magnetic videotapes were put into use.
The Photocopier.
By the last year of the 1950s, Xerox introduced the first photocopier machine.  This helped teachers to create copies of classroom materials easier and faster than the mimeograph machine.


The Microfilm Viewer.
During the 1960s, the individual filmstrip (microfilm) viewer was introduced to libraries and educational institutions.  The device provided a way for students to view individual filmstrips at their own pace.  The device was also used in libraries to search through newspaper archives and other publications for research.
Liquid Paper.
It was also during the 1960s that Liquid Paper was introduced and widely used with the typewriter.
Students who took typing class or used the typewriter to complete assignments and research papers could dip the brush into the liquid and then apply it to the paper to correct a typing error.


The Calculator.
The 1970s marked the transition to the handheld calculator in the classroom environment. Despite the fact there was concern over the loss of basic learning skills such as long division, manual multiplication, and other skills, the handheld calculator became a widely used device and was the precursor to the calculators used in the present-day classroom.

Public Broadcasting System (PBS).
The 1970s also brought the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) to homes and classrooms.  This allowed educational programming covering a wide variety of topics to be viewed on a television in the classroom or in the home environment.

The Apple II.
In 1977, Apple released the Apple II desktop computer which allowed students to learn geography and math problems using computer games. The Apple II utilised floppy disks for viewing various types of content and did not have access to the Internet.

The Personal Computer.

In the early 1980s, IBM (International Business Machines) came out with the first personal computer.  Additionally,the Plato computer was an early computer that was introduced to the education market as well.  Although schools did not yet have access to the Internet, the computer began to be used for a variety of learning purposes and as an eventual replacement for the typewriter when creating and completing reports and assignments. The CD-ROM.

The mid 1980s brought the first CD-ROM to the educational environment.  For the first time, students could store video and audio, as well as an entire encyclopedia on a single compact disk. The CD-ROM is still used with current computers, replaced the floppy disk and paved the way to the use of the flash drive for storage.

The Internet.

In the early to mid-1990s, the Internet was made available to the general public.  Prior to this time, it was solely used by the military, academic institutions, and NASA.  It was first introduced as a dial-up connection which occupied your telephone line.  It was also a very slow connection unlike the broadband connections of today and incapable of efficiently handling video.
The Interactive Whiteboard.

By the late 1990s, the blackboard was gradually getting replaced with an interactive whiteboard.  When first introduced, the whiteboard consisted of a white screen, computer, and projector.

 You Tube.
At the start of the 21st century, more classroom and educational institutions were becoming connected.  In 2004, YouTube was discovered as being an effective tool for classroom learning.  This allowed teachers to easily share free instructional videos and share videos associated with classroom projects.

The iPad.

Between 2007 and 2010, smartphones were beginning to increase in popularity and were widely used by students.  At this time, they were still not accepted as a classroom learning device until the inception of the iPad in 2010 which brought Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices to the forefront as a learning tool in the classroom.
Technology has also changed the role of the teacher.
Twenty years ago, the teacher was basically limited to providing class notes, showing a video, and using a limited variety of other tools to try and make learning fun and interesting.  With this, they were expected to reach a variety of learning styles simultaneously without the proper tools to help them accomplish this task.
Today, a teacher role has changed to facilitator and supporter as students collaborate and use apps that suit their learning style.  This enables the teacher to be more proactive about providing individual help when needed without having to worry about hindering other students in the classroom that are ahead in the learning process.


Use of Digital Tools for Students’ Learning and Technologies Historical Background

Hello, I am Carola Deinet-Knittel, and I am very engaged in how to use and set up Digital Learning for my students.
Being a person that didn’t grow up with any Digital related tools as student this topic is a new and also exciting one for me. When I started a few years ago at the International School of Stuttgart, I had hardly any experience to use a computer, laptop, Word, Powerpoint or White Boards. This has changed into the better the more I have been teaching at my current school. Digital Learning is highly valued there, and teachers are trained to use these tools. So-this is my honest opinion- you CAN’T refuse to use Digital Resources for young and older learners!!!
I chose two topics that are related to Digital Learning for students at my school.
1. As I  like to use outdoor experiences and the environment to be set up as another “Classroom” for students’ learning, I would like to introduce the Swabian Alp to you.



One of these is a GPS tour at our nearby outdoor environment, which is the Swabian Alp. The Swabian Alp is an area where students from all parts of the local environment, and the city of Stuttgart /Baden-Wuerttemberg, come and

have a visit there. There are quite famous places where you are allowed to dig for prehistorical animals, such as ammonites, snails and parts of dinosaurs, as we live on this terrain, where billions of years ago there was ocean everywhere.
2. The other part of my blog shows how Digital Learning has been developed throughout the last 500 to 600 years. As I am always excited to learn about some historical background related to topics (I am also a “Fleemarket”-person- always searching for tools that have historical background!) that is why I am excited to share these two links with you. When I had a look at the internet page below, I was fascinated how technology has been developed over several hundereds !!! of years. I haven’t had any knowledge related to history of technology in classrooms, and this page explains very well and easily, how digital learning has been taking place up to now. The historical background might be a good input into children’s understanding how digital learning has arrived in our classrooms.

I hope that you enjoy both the offered links.
Best regards Carola

Developing a positive climate and atmosphere in classrooms

 Hello, I am Carola Deinet-Knittel and I like to write how about creating a positive atmosphere in my classroom. As I have worked for 10 years at an International School I know about the importance of children’s well-being in class.
As we (our team of coordinators, teachers, assistants) work closely together we decide how best taking care of our new children starting at our school.
MLXLSMake Learning colour -and joyful
The beginning of each school year is a challenging one, especially children coming from lots of different cultural background, such as Arabic Emirates, South Korea, Japan, Russia, Mexico, etc. Bringing German cultural aspects to them, what we at our school also prevend, is an input the families also value high.

Strong communication between school staff and families is important in any school and has special relevance for schools committed to anti-bias education. Communication built on misinformation, assumptions or stereotypes can create distance between schools, families and students. Also, teachers can gather valuable information about students in a sensitive manner via beginning-of –year -questionnaires. Asking family members about students’ strengths, challenges and lives outside of school—as well as about their own hopes and fears— provides important background, sets a collaborative tone and allows classroom practice to reflect student identities. (11. Culturally Sensitive Communication[1])
This is ME!!!! - My CharacteristicsMLXLS
A good start to get the children know better is playing a name game, for example. Because of language issues ( our team have 38 children aged 3-5years, about 30 children having few or no English) we communicate non-verbally. Daily routine, schedule, good-morning song in their Mother tongue, signs and symbols bring safety for the children. A very important point is “routine”- the children know what about the following steps, they get to know the classroom and its set-up, we walk around school to show them our library, gym and the playground.
Especially during the first days parents are always welcomed to support, translate and play with their children. We make our work transparent, so that also the parents know what about our daily routine. School provides Mother tongue teachers as an extra support, what is a huge benefit for our students, also in other grade levels(1st to 5th grade).
Related to bullying, there is a common agreement set at our school that each grade level have their own classroom agreements, which are a very important tool to keep children save, secure and- related to behavior issues –respectful learners. Even our young students understand these AGREEMENTS as they are shown on simple pictures, or images. Also, we present these agreements through some role-play, -related to our students’ level.

[1] Social-emotional learning, respect and safety are as important as literacy and critical thinking skills when exploring an anti-bias curriculum. Research shows that students need to feel both physically and emotionally safe to learn. This includes safety from stereotype threat, harassment and exclusion. Creating a safe climate takes time and work. These are some of the most important components:
 • Active teaching of social-emotional skills
• Attention to creating positive relationships
• Bullying prevention and intervention
• Community building
• Explicit focus on understanding and appreciating differences
• Meaningful conflict resolution
• Teaching students to challenge bias and exclusion
As a teacher it is my responsibility how to create an atmosphere in which each of my students feels safe, secure, highly valued, and positively supported in their learning. A safe atmosphere relates to engaged learning in my opinion. I always try to have the classroom created in a way, especially where it is cosy, communicative and for our youngest learners, and gets their curiosity. Also, they feel happy and joyful,, as toys are chosen related to their age, and development. There is always space related to each students’ level and also challenge related to their development. We as a team work very closely together to make the classroom atmosphere be positive, engaging, creative and inspiring for our students. This is what I have been always aiming for.