Yesterday she wrote a blog post entitled Students Can Decide which, as usual, got me thinking. After running around all day I managed to finally add a comment to her post last night. But when I look back at the comment I wrote, it's more of a mini blog post. I love how Aviva does that to me. Here's what I had to say.
Aviva, I used to be the teacher that told my students what to do and when. I am no longer that teacher. For example during our first term together my students learned a variety of ways to practice word work. Over the course of a week I would rotate everyone through different stations. I spent the appropriate amount of time teaching them why/how to use the stations correctly and what type of learning I was looking for at each station. With the new year and the new term I no longer tell my students how to practice. They now choose and practice in a way that is most meaningful to them.
My students have choice with their reading, writing, and word work options. They often have choice with their math options too. I think our job as teachers is to give them a foundation but to encourage and support as they discover the world. I think sometimes when we make all the choices for them they fail to learn how to think for themselves.
As you are aware this has been quite a professional growth year for me. I’ve made a lot of changes with my teaching, including letting go of a lot, but I’m really pleased with the out come so far. My students are reading, writing, and doing math in ways that are meaningful to them. Obviously I am still around to guide, prompt, redirect, and encourage when necessary but for the most part they have taken a lot more control of their learning and I can’t ask for any more than that. It’s exciting times I tell you.
One thing I need to improve on is getting my students to vocalize their learning better. I am super impressed with what you’ve been doing with your students. Asking those important questions, and listening too. While I think I do this, I know I could do this a whole lot better. Yet another goal for me to add to my list.
Thanks for sharing your learning with me. I love the way you constantly push my thinking and make me critically analyze what I do with my students and why.
While Aviva and I have never met in person she has most definitely been instrumental in pushing my learning this year. I hope I am able to do the same for others. It's powerful stuff I tell you.
Karen, I'm so glad that you made this a blog post of your own! I love it! You've definitely pushed my thinking, especially when it comes to giving students the power to decide. I love what you do with your students in the classroom, and even though we've never met, you've definitely inspired me a lot. I hope that one day we can meet face-to-face.ReplyDelete
Thanks Aviva. I feel pretty confident that one day we WILL meet face to face. Twitter has been so incredible for me and my learning. I have to remind myself how much I have changed as an educator since joining the twitter movement in July 2011.Delete