This blog is a place to ruminate on the problems of teaching. If I am thinking thoughtfully, my posts will hopefully raise more questions than answers. By problematizing teaching we reflect on those questions that are constantly behind, in front, and at center of everything we do in the classroom. Feel free to comment. I'd love to hear what other teachers are thinking about on these and other issues.
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Check out the Ralph Fletcher podcast on mentor texts
I love reading professional books. I especially love reading professional books that nudge and challenge those teaching ideas that become solidified (and misapplied) over time due to misunderstanding and misguided mandates. When teachers "do" whole language or "do" mentor texts, as Fletcher mentions in this podcast, a red flag should go up: "doing" is scripted and regulated. Instead, we need teachers who watch kids and encourage conversation in the classroom, then use this to inform their teaching. The podcast below with Ralph Fletcher is a glimpse into Fletcher's latest work regarding mentor texts and I know I'm going to love reading the book when it comes to my mailbox in September.
This is the third in a series of blog posts about strategies I use to help my students take ownership of their learning. The first post was about class meetings. The second post was about giving kids opportunities todetermine their own writing and reading plansevery Friday afternoon. (Coming soon is the fourth post in this series about using student surveys to provide feedback about the classroom.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Yesterday I felt more independent than ever because I had to tell myself what to do." - 5th grade boy It did not come as a surprise that my students embraced the idea of planning their learning for an entire day. That is what being autonomous and self-directed is all about and what we all desire to be in our day-to-day experiences. Allowing students to create their own schedules for learning, albeit conditioned by specific parameters (reading, writing, math, sc…
The I have been dismayed to realize that despite my self-image as a teacher with a learner centered classroom, I am far from truly achieving that goal.
I have been listening carefully to myself lately, and I don't like what I hear myself saying to the kids. Instead of empowering my students to take ownership of their learning, I am still the director on the stage. I still ask leading questions rather than ones that push the learner to figure things out for herself. I realize I often spoon feed my students hopeful that they will give me the answer I'm looking for. An answer that will make my job easier. Answers that will fit with what I expect students to say despite the fact that 30 years in education has taught me nothing if not that students are unpredictable, and if we prepare for anything, that is what we should be prepared for. Teacher
An anecdote. The other day I was talking with a student about the fact that she was abandoning more books than she was finishing. I was as…
I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple of days. And, I've come to the conclusion that I must change my attitude - shift my stance - so I can assume a new perspective. So that I am more aligned with what's important and may add value to my life. Focusing on the negative is not making me stronger or healthier. In fact, I am often stressed because I worry a lot about unimportant things. I obsess over situations out of my control. I dismiss positive experiences that would help lift my spirits and align my focus towards what's important. I need a distraction from my own thoughts.
I need balance in my life. Not because I work hard to prepare my classes. Not because I read a lot of professional literature. Not because I wrote a lot this summer and will continue to do so now that school has started. But because I have been obsessing on the wrong things. Mostly, I obsess about what someone said or did and what it says about me as a teacher. I obsess about …