Makerspaces: They seem to be all the buzz, but the concept that drives them isn’t new. For many years, we’ve been focused on directing every moment of our students’ lives. As parents, the lives of children are scheduled to the point they never have a moment to decide for themselves what to do. As teachers, if our students don’t look like they’re working, we worry that someone will think they aren’t learning. So when did we decide as adults that play is a bad thing?[Read more…] about Why Makerspaces?
Our students love to have some choice over what they read as part of our Language Arts program. Book Clubs are one way to encourage reading and discussions-just like adults do. Students read for enjoyment and then talk about what they have read and recommend books to others. Setting up book clubs can be a little confusing, especially if it’s your first time. Don’t worry! We’re here to help you out.
You’re going to love book clubs![Read more…] about Teaching Reading: Book Clubs
How do we create a classroom community where all students feel they are equal and belong? It turns out we’ve had more combined grade classes that straight grade classes since we began teaching, so we can’t imagine teaching any other way. First of all, we call it a combined class rather than a split class. It’s the first thing we do with parents because our combined classes are not like the old ‘split’ classes.
When students come into our classroom on the first day of school they immediately collect into two different groups-the lower grade and the upper grade. They don’t know each other well and like to sit with their friends. We don’t give students a seating plan right away (or sometimes at all) so we can see which relationships form or are already in place, but then we slowly start changing their mindset about the combined class.
So, what are our secrets?
Project based learning can be a challenge because it moves the control from the teacher to the student. When we began our teaching journey, controlling every aspect of student work from beginning to end seemed like the right thing to do. As we’ve evolved as teachers, we learned that loosening the reigns has many benefits. Check out some of the best reasons we use project based learning in our classroom.[Read more…] about The Reasons For Project Based Learning
Have you been learning about growth mindset and wanting to try to instill some determination in your students? Have you heard of the learning pit? It might be the key to teaching students to learn how to learn.
Do you have students that break down during tasks that require a bit of problem solving? Are they frustrated? Do they yell and scream of run out of the classroom? You need the learning pit.
Teaching students to overcome challenges can be difficult when we live in a society that is all about getting things done quickly. We have technology, parents and constant distractions constantly telling students they can learn anything anytime with little or no effort. As a teacher, this is very challenging when students feel they’ve failed, get frustrated or give up right away.
This was what was happening in our classroom. Students that could manage challenges were more successful overall because they kept working until they got it. It felt like it was a lack of effort, but it was much more than that. So we started investigating and researching best practices to help us teach students to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.[Read more…] about The Learning Pit
Flexible seating-it’s all over social media right now. It’s strange to us that it’s so popular right now as we’ve been doing it in our classroom for over seven years, but there is definitely a trend that doesn’t mesh with our philosophy of flexible seating.