Here is our truth. Students need our help. We need help. We need each another--everyone in the classroom and everyone in our buildings. And we need the humility to know that our best teaching years may never be realized because of the hundreds and thousands of unreported moments that matter to the young people we mentor.
Posts from the ‘Reflective Practice’ Category
by Meg Clementi
Is reabhloideach mise. I am a revolutionary.
As a math teacher, I am questioned by peers as to why I have my students write. What is
my purpose in asking students to explain their thinking? Why have I attended conferences, courses and programs whose attendees are comprised of 99% English teachers and Elementary reading and writing teachers? I stand at the edges, accepting the shaken heads and wonderings of my peers.
Is reabhloideach mise. I am a revolutionary.
I have my students write because their ability to explain their thinking is important to me. Their ability to justify their processes and answers is critical. Their depth of knowledge is essential. My students write because as their teacher, I demand this level of participation, performance and comprehension from them. I am not satisfied with them simply renting knowledge and discarding what they have learned as they place their hands on the doorknob and walk out of my classroom for the last time. I want them to own knowledge.
Is reabhloideach mise. I am a revolutionary. Read more
A few years ago, I started to rethink my classroom space. I wondered, What does this room say about me as a teacher, or my students as learners? Is the space working in the best ways it can? Here are 16 ways we can reimagine our learning spaces - with pictures!
By Janice Ewing
My grad class is small this term, a seminar-like community with lots of conversation and sharing of ideas and experiences. The comfort level among the group is a welcome respite at a time when everyone is striving to fulfill end-of-year requirements and scrambling to reach unmet goals, while keeping up with grad school and family obligations.
Recently, a few of the teachers shared experiences that were unexpectedly positive and rewarding. For example, Anne (names have been changed) teaches in an alternative high school for students who have previously dropped out or taken other detours from the traditional path to graduation. Most, if not all, have had struggles and negative experiences with reading, robbing them of the pleasurable experience of getting caught up in a book. By chance, Anne acquired a large enough collection of Walter Dean Myers’ Monster to accommodate her small class. She had not read the book, but had read reviews and commentaries and it seemed like a great fit for her students. She decided to jump in without reading it ahead, which was not her usual practice. Next issue: a well-meaning colleague pointed out that there were related “packets’ available, which would provide questions, prompts, discussion points, etc. An inner voice told her to forgo the packets, and she listened to it. Read more
by Brian Kelley
Over 5000 years ago, the Phoenicians discovered that Polaris, or the Polar Star, is positioned so that the entire Northern sky revolves around it. A reliable piece of data, the Phoenicians guarded this secret as long as they could and dominated sea navigation. While most ships and trade routes hugged coastlines, the Phoenicians ventured further into regions no one else dared.
Polaris, or what we know today as the North Star, inspired confidence. And that confidence and knowledge encouraged the Phoenicians to be risk-takers on the sea.
This scenario strikes me a bit like education. Read more
Quarterbacks, writers, and resisters: Fostering a growth mindset in the writing workshop (Guest Post)
by Mark Overmeyer
Living in Denver means Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is on the front page of the paper more often than anyone else. One story that emerged this summer is about Manning’s work ethic – what teachers would undoubtedly call a “growth mindset.” Manning spends time every year with his former college football coach. He isn’t there to visit, but to learn. Manning says his college coach knows more about his throw than anyone else in his life, so he needs his advice in order to improve. Peyton Manning makes millions of dollars a year, but he knows he is never “done”: he understands the importance of feedback from someone who knows him well.
I often shy away from sports metaphors when thinking of effective instruction, but Manning’s story is a perfect fit with our work as teachers of writing. Manning’s coach knows him best. More than any other subject we teach, writing helps us to know our students in the same way Manning’s coach knows him. Read more