Be Still and Listen

Robyn Jackson once said, “When teachers help too much, they reinforce the idea that it’s about getting it right and not about the struggle for learning.”

I will be the first to admit, as a 22 year veteran teacher, I still struggle with letting go so the kids can “struggle”.   However, when I/we do let go, the results are amazing. Think about one tweak you can make to your instruction that allows for more student led discourse.

Food for Thought:

Increased opportunities for students to share thinking and/or explain thinking

Celebrate successes as a class

Let students “work through” the struggles

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Let the Light In

Leonard Cohen once said, “There’s a crack in everything – that’s how the lights get in.”

As the First Marking period is nearing an end for many of us, I stop to think and ask myself what opportunities have I provided for students to let their light shine. For some students, this might mean setting them up for success.

Food for Thought:

Differentiated Instruction for ALL students

Celebrate every success

Set achievable goals with students

Clear up misinterpretations in the moment

Never Say Never

Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

With the start of a new school year, this statement strongly resonates with me as I reflect on year-end data and begin to set performance goals for the upcoming school year.

Think about a Student Learning Goal you might want to accomplish this year. Break that goal into small chunks (daily intentions) to help you reach that goal. Remember to check in each day with your intentions.

Dream big and reach for the stars.

Windows and Mirrors

Sydney J. Harris once said, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”

Think about each and every opportunity you have provided for your students to “shine”. Think about different ways to recognize students each day.

Food for Thought:

  • Reinforce positive behaviors
  • Provide incentives for most improved students weekly and/or quarterly
  • Accentuate the positives with parents and/or families on a regular basis

Invite parents in for a “showcase

Creative Expression and Knowledge

Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

Think about the opportunities you provide for students to demonstrate their creative expression and/or knowledge.

Food for Thought:

  • Exit Tickets
  • Daily Reflection at the end of each lesson
  • Frequent check-ins during a lesson
  • Increased opportunities for peer-to-peer discourse activities
  • Use of hands-on materials as much as possible

Off the Beaten Path

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

As I reflect on both this quote and my own teaching practices, I am reminded of some big adjustments made to my own teaching this year. These changes, though difficult, have added rich peer to peer discourse opportunities for students and compelled me to interact more with students in a positive manner, thus allowing increased opportunities for students to be pushed and excel to new levels.

When is the last time you have truly reflected on your teaching experiences? What is one thing you can do at this mid-year point to step out of your comfort zone and enhance your day to day teaching?

Learning by Example

Malcom Gladwell once said, “We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.”

Think about a typical day in your classroom. How many times are you “showing” students how to do something instead of telling them? What opportunities are you providing for them to interact with each other to explain their thinking?

Think about increasing the opportunities for peer-to-peer discourse activities in your classroom. What might that look like? Sound like?