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?
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?
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
At the beginning of the school year we work hard to teach students some basic courtesies to make everyone happier and keep students responsible for their learning space. these are five basic things we teach repeatedly during the first month of school to our upper elementary students. We also want to stress that just because this is how we do things, doesn’t mean these procedures will work ‘as is’ in your classroom. Feel free to solve the issues in your own way. [Read more…] about Save Your Sanity- Five Courtesies to Teach
Every starts with a new, fresh batch of kids that you want to get to know. Teachers need to know their students for several reasons. You need to understand them and their quirks because you’re going to spend the next ten months in close quarters trying to guide this child through all kinds of experiences. You need to understand who your students really are.
You need to know who they are so you can plan to teach them. It’s just that simple.[Read more…] about Getting to Know Your Students