Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Teaching With Intention Chaper 1 Linky

Today I am linking up with Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten for Mr. Greg's (from Kindergarten Smorgasboard) book study! Lots of teachers are reading and linking up each week focusing on one chapter.  This week is the first week!  I'm so excited for this book.  When I met with Paul Bloomberg (with Core Collaborative) with my teaching partner for an Impact Team...he gave me some experts and some books I should read.  This book was one of them!  Debbie Miller did a great job opening up this book with chapter 1.  Let's dig in!

I am going to answer the questions that Mrs. Plemons provided to guide my discussion on what I got from this chapter of Teaching With Intention.

You can see it right?  I think when everyone closes their eyes they can see their ideal classroom (now we are thinking if we had all the money in the world and got to decide how big it was...that's my dream!).  When I close mine...there is always one are that stands out, or that I see first.  That area of the classroom is the library.  I'm a book lover.  I teach kindergarten.  I'm supposed to not make reading a chore but show kids what a love of reading looks like.  So I immediately see this big area in a corner of the room filled with tubs of books, warm, inviting, seating options.  Oh my, I could go on.  
Here is my list of things I jotted down when I thought of my ideal classroom:
- large and inviting library
- large and open classroom space with learning areas throughout the room
- windows, lots of windows
- cozy meeting space
-a loft (I've always wanted one!)
- more student run (compared to what I'm doing now)
- the "hum" of learning
- focused students
-smiling students

Back in May/June of 2011 I went as an alumni with a group from the education department with MSSU to Southampton, London, Paris, and Barcelona.  In Southampton, England, we spent two days in a school with a teacher to observe them.  I was in a class at a primary school that would be our equivalent of a kindergarten.  The room was HUGE.  At each 4 corners were an area divided by half walls or shelves.  These 4 corners were four different classes.  The teachers team taught and the students all day went to different areas, different teachers, and there was a TON of choice.  Most of it was learning through stations or play.  But several times a day they were with a teacher in their little meeting areas.  They also had an amazing outdoor classroom area.  It was so cool to see.  The K & 1st teachers in my building have joked about if we could all combine to a big area and team teach it'd be amazing.  It's a dream of ours...

Here's a few pictures I could find from that experience in England.  The second pictures shows very well one of those meeting areas...the teacher is standing in the doorway of it.

In my ideal classroom, I am working with students at my table and occasionally walking around observing and asking questions about the students working at their station, area, or table.  The students are smiling, discussing their learning, focused, and you can easily tell what they are learning.

I have expanded my library.  Check out my library from my first year of teaching to my third year of teaching (this past year)! Wow!  I would love to make it slightly larger but simply do not have the space.  Students can sit on the bench (with the red cushion), at the two red pillows by the wall, or on the chevron bean bag (which is now flatter than a pancake, Target fail).  My ideal library would be twice this size if I had the room!

This year I changed my literacy stations to where the students got to pick each of their 4 stations they went to.  This was a lifesaver.  Now, it certainly was scaring giving 5 year olds a choice of where they wanted to go. But after about a week of practice, they had it.  Each student has a clip with their name on it.  Each of my 5 stations have a sign with a certain amount of dot stickers along the edge.  Students can only go to a station if it has an empty dot to put their clip on.  My off task behaviors and other not so great behaviors have gone down tremendously since.  I think choice is key!  

I need to work on less teacher led and transition to more student led.  This has always sort of made me nervous.  I know in kindergarten it won't happen right away.  This is one of my goals for the next few years is give them more tasks to lead in the classroom.

I'm excited for next Wednesday for Chapter 2.  If you haven't bought Teaching With Intention yet...go do it!  :) 

See you next week!


  1. Wow that is so cool that you were able to visit classrooms in other countries! I think that would be such an interesting experience! I also love to see how your library has changed over the years. And I am so with you on being nervous about student led in kindergarten. It is definitely a slow process but I am always shocked to see how independent and passionate my students become when I allow them to set their own goals and make their own learning choices, even with the most difficult groups of students!

    Thanks for linking up!
    Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

  2. That is awesome that you got to go to other countries and see different classrooms! That must have been amazing :) I love that you give your kindergarteners a choice for their centers...I think that the students put forth such a better effort when they feel like they have a choice! I love letting my students pick their centers.

  3. I love that you shared about your visits to classrooms in other countries! I spent 3 summers in Ecuador and the open, free concept they had in their classrooms really inspired me. I want a loft too!!!!

    Thanks for linking up!


  4. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your library! I am thinking of re-organizing mine this summer. I want to make it more of a kid friendly hangout and read type of space like yours!

    Primary Possibilities

  5. So glad to have joined this book study, thanks for helping to put it together. Great way for me to reflect and plan for the new year! I definitely need to reorganize my library and make it a larger area in our room. I would LOVE a loft! :)