Thursday, January 10, 2013

Who are you?

What do you do well?  What makes your teaching style special?

   I love this first week back from our winter break.  The specialists are busy DIBELing, which means the interventions are suspended.  That provides an extra 25 minutes in the morning. YES!! What would you do with an extra 25 minutes?  Isn't that like gold for teachers!
   One of the sessions were taken up with a 5th grade District pre-assessment, but the other four were open for my imagination.  Two I have chosen to play review games.  The other two...we gathered on the floor and just talked.  MY FAVORITE TIME! Time to review expectations they set up for the start of the year.  Do they need tweaked?  What do we do well and what needs reinforcement?  We review what makes a Quality World (safety, fun, belonging, power through knowledge, and freedom).  As each is reviewed, I ask students to talk to a partner about what we do in our room that ensures these needs are being met.  It provides incrediable insights into what is sticking with the students, which activities they enjoyed. 
   What did I find out?  Everytime I catch them off guard by tap dancing, wearing a funny hat, taking them to the skate park, or making them move, move, move; they find those activities as fun and engaging. More importantly, content is remembered.  The power and freedom from choice through contracts, Daily 5, and team work is what they want.  Working in teams and morning warm up dances help them to feel like they belong to a special place where everyone in the room will show respect of their opinions. 
    What do your students think make their room the best place to be for five days a week, almost eight hours a day?   As teachers, we need pats on the back and we like to know what is keeping them excited to learn. Go for it....Ask them....then smile, because you are doing what you love and IT IS making a difference!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New year, New adventure...

     Come dive in with me to discover the excitement of teaching so that all students are working toward their personal best.  There will be many smiles, laughs, and engaged students along the way. 
      I believe all students come to the classroom with unique gifts that work together towards growing a classroom of learners.  Kids crave the power knowledge gives them, a sense of belonging, feeling valued for who they are, and fun.  Teaching brings new challenges and joys everyday because of the mix of expectations and personalities.  Differentiation is how I meet each day with some confidence. 
     This is just a starting point in sharing with others how my classroom functions.  It is my prayer it spurs others to dive into differentiation and that an open conversation occurs.  I am always looking for new ideas or spicing up of old ones.  Thank you for taking time to start this adventure with me.