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Showing posts from November, 2009

Observing Students

Today I was reminded of the importance of taking a step back to observe students. Yetta Goodman calls it kid watching. Others may call it listening in. Whatever you call it make sure to take a few minutes every day to observe and record your observations while students are working and interacting with each other. You will discover things you had not noticed before and you will get insights that will help your teaching go more smoothly giving you the perspective you need to be a better teacher.

Today I watched my class interacting with our artist-in-residence. I was particularly interested in one student who often has a difficult time controlling his responses when we are working in a whole group setting. I rarely get to finish what I am saying before this child will interrupt with a comment of his own. Often these comments are funny or silly and they don't contribute to our collective learning process. When he is not interrupting, he is off to the side seemingly withdrawn. …

Even in Australia

After my last blog entry, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what's working and what's not working in my class and, by extension, what needs to change. Part of the (my) problem is that everything always feels rushed; this particular group of children needs more time to explore and ease into learning. Instead, I keep pushing them along; the clock is always my worst enemy.

When I looked at our class schedule I was reminded of my tendency towards being dogmatic. Although I understand that ideas and structures are just that - ideas and structures - I tend to want to replicate them religiously even though I am as nonreligious as they come. If the "experts" say, "thou shalt do morning meeting every day for 30 minutes", then that's what I try to do first, instead of thinking about what my students need and what I know is important about teaching and learning. The adjusting and tweaking needs to come first given the constraints of an elementary …

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong and nothing you do seems to work? No matter how hard you try you feel like you're just bumbling along?

What do you do when you feel like the worst teacher that walked the planet? How do you take back a bad day? How do you make it up to your students and to yourself so that you can continue on a healthy path to learning?

How do you call up the courage to listen to what your heart and mind tells you is the right path to take with a challenging student at the same time that you acknowledge that you might need help? How do you listen to yourself and others without losing sight of the most important person, the child?

These are the questions I am going to be reflecting on in my teacher journal today, Remembrance Day. Seems fitting since, in some ways, this is a day to think about how we can create and practice peace in our professional and personal lives on a day to day basis.

I welcome your thoughts.