Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Teaching With Intention Ch. 2

Well it is Wednesday and time for the next Chapter in the Teaching With Intention book study. Remember this study was put together by Kindergarten Smorgasboard ! This weeks hosts are:
Question 1
What are your beliefs about teaching and learning?
  • The environment must be appropriate for learning. The students have to feel comfortable, not feel overwhelmed, and feel as though it is their classroom.
  • Planning is essential for learning to occur. If you don't have a plan with an end in mind then you will get lost, if you are lost, the kids are lost!
  • Lessons should happen in three phases, modeling by the teacher, practice with the teacher, and practice independently (or with a small group)
  • Lessons should be based on student needs. A teacher should not move on when students are not ready just because the manual says next lesson please!
Question 2
How do you build a sense of community in your classroom?
Community is built by getting all students to buy in. In my classroom each I begin the year by having students bring in family photos, which we display all over the room. We are all family and that room is our home, homes have family photos!! Then I have a set of jobs and each child is given a job (this rotates). The jobs given them a sense of ownership in the room. We also sit at tables and do most of our work in small groups. The students are encouraged to help each other and work together.
Question 3
How do you go about teaching kids something new?
I try to teach my lessons in a similar format each time so that the kids have a routine they can count on. We begin each lesson with a quick review/recap of the day before. This could be a question, statement, or activity, but always short. Then we move into the hook for our new skill/concept. I have done all kinds of different things. One of my kids favorites is when I make a youtube playlist of videos on our new topic (they are very short clips) and the students guess what it is!! After a discussion, I model our new skill, then our whole class works together in a similar activity. After that the students complete an activity on their own or in small group.
There were a couple of lines in this chapter that really stood out to me that I wanted to share!!!
1. But for all their pomp, it's hard to imagine the circumstance where prepackaged programs and scripts teach children better than we do.
Miller, Debbie (2008-08-13). Teaching with Intention (Kindle Locations 253-254). Stenhouse Publishers - A. Kindle Edition.
We sure do get a lot of STUFF when we adopt book programs, but they don't hold all the answers. They are ONE tool to use, never let a program tell you how to teach!!!!!
2. So intently was I listening for thinking that mirrored my own that I'd forgotten the importance of listening to what kids have to say. I barely heard them because I was so determined to lead them to my way of thinking.
Miller, Debbie (2008-08-13). Teaching with Intention (Kindle Locations 271-273). Stenhouse Publishers - A. Kindle Edition.
I have been guilty of this a lot. I know the answer and only listen for that. All to often they are giving us a GREAT answer, and we aren't listening to hear it!!!
That is it! See you next week for Chapter 3!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Teaching with Intention Ch. 1

I have decided to participate in the Teaching with Intention book study over the summer. It kicks off today with Ch. 1. Each week there will be a different chapter hosted by 3 different bloggers, the whole thing is being coordinated by Kindergarten Smorgasboard

This week is being hosted by

Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

Primary Possibilities

 Enchanted Kindergarten

So hop on over to their blogs and join in!!!

Chapter one is all about the ideal classroom. Read below to find out about mine!!!!
 It has taken me years to figure this one out. Each year I feel like I learn a little more about myself and the student population I teach. My son also plays a huge role in what I think a classroom should look like. I like for a classroom to have consistency. I prefer rooms that use one or two colors throughout. I think this cuts down on the distraction level and makes the room look cleaner. I also feel like an ideal classroom is very organized but in a child friendly sort of way. Things should be labeled and if materials are for student use they should be within student reach. All furniture should be low, so that it can be seen over and is easily reached. An ideal classroom always has a steady hum of sound. The students are working and talking about their learning. The teacher and students are engaged in conversation. It will always feel warm and welcoming to anyone that comes in.
 The students and teachers are learning. In an ideal classroom the teacher is learning from the students just as they learn from her/him. There is always conversations and discussions happening between teacher and students, as well as, students with other students. Everyone in the room is actively participating in learning. The students all have an understanding of expectations and consequences. They are engaged and full of enjoyment.
 I have a red/black themed room I understand that having everything color coded can get expensive, so I work on it a little each year. My classroom is very organized and structured. Expectations are clear and students all understand they are part of the family with responsibilities in the classroom. I use only low furniture so that it can be used anywhere in the classroom. The majority of our day is spent in small group work where students work together and with me.
The sound. I tend to be easily distracted by conversations (as in I hear all conversations happening around me, and don't focus on the one I am in!) I want my students constantly engaged and working together, but I have to be careful that it is not a distraction for me and the students that are like me!

See you next Wednesday for Chapter 2!!