Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Teaching With Intention Chapter 4

Today I am linking up with Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Positively Learning for Chapter for of Mr. Greg's Teaching with Intention book study!

Chapter 4: Creating Classroom Cultures That Support and Promote Student Thinking!

One of the first things I jotted down while reading this chapter is Debbie Miller's idea of being a reflective teacher (reader and writer) by carrying a notebook around with you for when you want to write something down. She talked about how she went to the Hawaiian ice place and the mood struck to write a poem.  She then shared that poem with her students the next day.  LOVE that!  There's always things I wish to share or remember for a writing idea for my Writer's Workshop minilesson and sometimes, I simply forget.

This chapter is in 3 sections...
1) putting our thinking on display 
2) the intentional use of language
3) making thinking visible, public, and permanent

Putting Our Thinking on Display!
* show your curiosity to your students!
* show what thinking looks like
* show how to consider other people's perspectives
* model being reflective
* show them what it means to have a "healthy" skepticism

Telling is NOT showing.  You have to model and show the students what thinking looks like.  How are they supposed to learn how to think and question things when they haven't been showed what that looks like.  I teach kindergarten so I feel like it's the perfect time to show them how to think.  They are learning how to be little learners in my room.  

This may be a sign from the Lord or something...but everywhere lately I have been hearing this phrase "BE PRESENT".  I've heard it in church with our recently finished series, I've seen articles on Facebook talking about putting down your phone and living in the moment, it's in this book, I saw some cute prints at Hobby Lobby about being present.  I feel like this statement is my theme for the summer.  But it totally makes sense.  In your classroom, you need to be aware and present.  When you're present with your kids you are hearing what they have to say and you are really focusing in on what is going on.  That's what good thinkers do!  Boom.  Makes perfect sense to me. 

When you're present...Debbie Miller says you are thoughtful, curious, and reflective.  Don't get wrapped up in the stuff.  We can be so busy managing that we are really listening.

Students need to see it, thinking needs to be visible.  She lists comprehension strategies and how we have to show them our thinking. Students need to learn how to think like that!

The Intentional Use of Language:
Be present.  :)  There it is again.  Students know when we are not just talking, but making it meaningful and thoughtful.

I love her example about the student who is explaining something and it takes forever and you're wondering where they are going.  How sometimes we ask another student to help him.  She says not to do that.  Ahhhem...guilty sometimes!  She suggests letting them keep going so they know you believe in them.

She provides some other scenarios about the kids who you aren't sure what they are talking about or they say something totally off the wall.  I love that last one.  That's my life in kindergarten some days, especially the beginning of the year!  Debbie Miller shows it's important to really listen to these students and not just dismiss their crazy answers or their long stories, to ask them questions, prompt them, and show their learning is important.  

We want students to be able to explain their learning, but when we dismiss them quickly or call on someone else...they aren't going to learn how to do that.

Making Thinking Visible, Public, and Permanent.
* Thinking aloud your's the best way to make it visible!
* Evidence of thinking should be all over the place! -anchor charts, quotes, student work
* Making thinking public and permanent in your classroom, it shows the students that their thinking matters.
* Document students' thinking.

In my classroom I have what the students are learning posted every day.  I know lots of people do.  I have never done this much before this school year.  My school (and district) started doing visible learning.  I needed to find a way to post our learning intentions and success criteria.  That way students, me, and anyone who comes in can see what we are learning and students should be able to say what we are learning and how to do that.

I didn't have the picture on my phone but remembered I put one on Instagram.  This is when I was first putting it up in my classroom.  The white sheets I ended up sliding on the colorful sheets to write on. I laminated them and wrote each week what we were learning in each subject area.  The bottom row was "I have mastered it when..." and I wrote the "I can" statement with the steps to master that learning.

This by the end of year became easier for my students when someone would come in and ask them what they are doing and how do they know if they can do it.  Our school's goal was that at any given time students can tell what they are learning and how or what steps need to be taken to learn it.

I LOVE my clothesline in my classroom.  I hang anchor charts and student work on it. I also try to hang work outside in the halls.

I enjoyed this chapter because it made me think about how I need to show my thinking and learning more than I do so that my students learn how to show their thinking as well.  It's definitely given me some things to think about!  


Post a Comment