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Posts tagged ‘classroom climate’

Building Community in a Bigger Space – The Library

*** This week we decided go back to archives and reshare this wonderful post by librarian Chris Kehan, which originally appeared on our blog two years ago. Below, Chris shares how community is something that can be nurtured and grow beyond the classroom walls―and especially how our libraries can be at the center of that growth.

By Chris Kehan

For the past four years, setting up my classroom has been different than it was for the previous nineteen years.  Having taught in the regular education classroom for those nineteen years, I made the leap into library media specialist.  While I still see myself as a classroom teacher, my classroom just grew in size and so did my number of students.  Creating a space where students, teachers, and parents feel welcome and safe to take risks is extremely important for librarians.  Most libraries are situated in the center of the school; hence it’s the hub of activity.  “Entrance through our doors admits one to infinite worlds, magical kingdoms, and the treasure trove of knowledge created by our world’s best thinkers, artists, and scientists.” (Grimes, 2006) Read more

Community-Building for All Students, All Year

By Diane Esolen Dougherty

Several years ago Time magazine devoted its cover story to the latest wunderkind educational reformer.  It was an in-depth look at “state of the art” practices in education, particularly in teacher accountability.  One anecdote from the article was telling, at least to me.  The reformer was doing a walk-through in an elementary school in the district.  After observing a teacher for several minutes (yes, I wrote minutes), her decision was made.  “I’ve seen everything I need to see,” she said.  Nothing of merit was happening in that third-grade classroom.  The teacher was conducting a class meeting, and class meetings are not instructional.  All class time was to be devoted solely to instruction. Read more

Empathetic Lesson Planning to Include Diverse Populations

By: K. M. Walton

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

      Can you read that for me? Could you write how you feel after you read it? Could you share any personal connections you made to the text? Do you picture anything in your mind while you read it? Would you answer a few questions about what you read?

      What’s that? You can’t do any of those things? Are you sure? I’d like you to try again. Try a little harder this time. What do you mean you still can’t do what I’m asking? What’s wrong with you? Read it again. Do you have it now?

Read more

Teaching To and For Diverse Populations

By Kathleen Hall Scanlon

“You have one weapon & one weapon only: Use it. It is your ability to teach.”  

– Alice Walker

      “My student teachers usually observe for two weeks before I give up my classes,” my 28-year-old cooperating teacher announced. I, however, expected to teach immediately. I’d just completed a stellar initial experience in Allentown after observing for a single day. As I departed Allen High, three tenth graders – two African Americans and one Latina – wished they could accompany me to Reading. I wondered why.

      “You’ll see.” Read more

Serve Your Enthusiasm

By Bob Zakrzewski

            Often this time of year when winter overstays its welcome, I find solace in the sun stretching each day longer, melting January and February’s icy blues and chapped pinks into March greens.  And as a high school English teacher on a block schedule, facing mid-winter accompanies meeting new students, reminding me of James Baldwin’s apt observation: “Fires can’t be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men.”

            Enthusiasm fuels my teaching.  Years spent honing the art of organizing lessons and developing an understanding of writing, although well-spent, could not sustain me.  Walking into class with a well-prepared plan and confident knowledge of the day’s literature felt great, yet, lacking enthusiasm, the lessons fell flat. Read more

Moving Grad Students Forward as Readers, Writers, and Thinkers: A Top Ten List

By Janice Ewing

My career path has led from secondary English teacher to elementary school reading specialist and literacy coach to my current position as a graduate-level instructor for teachers in a reading specialist certification program. Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly interested in the needs of adult learners. Here is my top ten list of necessary elements that need to be in place for grad students to move forward. Top ten lists tend to be presented in reverse order, but I decided to start with my number one priority and go from there. Read more