Summer Book Study Blog

Summer Book Study Blog

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chapter 2 - Learn Like a Pirate - Common Concerns about Student-Led Classrooms

All concerns that Paul addressed in chapter two were mine, plus there were several concerns I hadn't even thought of to be concerned about! Yikes! However, when I turned to the page of his "sub notes," I was amazed. If a sub can come in and not lose her mind or even have to "walk the plank" from an unruly, mutinous crew, then there must be something to all this. Paul states, "My most recent philosophical and pedagogical changes have reinvigorated me and made me a much better teacher than I was before." I want to start out the school year reinvigorated in spite of this summer's busyness. 

I want to model the tools of  a "self-starter" and I want my students to become one. "Taking responsibility for yourself is something that is learned," is quoted at the end of the chapter from Mary DeMaria. Equipping students with the skills and needs of the future is a noble pursuit. Curriculum standards and standardized "high-stakes" testing will always be with us. We also owe our students life skills that will prepare them for the future to come. When I think how education has changed over the years and the skills and adaptations that have come along with technology since the early 2000s, WOW! BUT, good teaching is still good teaching. A teacher is still the one to make the difference in the learning for students, but why not equip students to share the load? I have had multiple units that students shared the workload in preparing, presenting, assessing, and reteaching their peers. Students worked so hard and were so excited to share their learning. My students have created websites, blogs, shared google docs for collaboration, set up study groups, and much more. I think  KNOW I can do this. 

Ahoy, matey! I'm ready to set sail!
Pirate D :)

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  1. One thing that I've learned with regards to substitutes coming into my classroom is that they have a much more enjoyable experience when I put a note at the top of my sub plans saying, "FYI - Our classroom is a student-led classroom where children are going to direct themselves and others throughout the day. It may seem louder or more chaotic, but please take time to analyze what each child is doing before re-directing them, as they are most often on task and engaged in what they are doing. At the end of the day, students will direct themselves in a reflection & evaluation ritual that is a little loud and a little chaotic, but please trust them as they lead this each day! Please write a short note letting me know how my kiddos did. Thank you!"

    Most substitutes appreciate the note and do very well with our classroom, but there are a few who can't handle giving up control - these are the ones who don't come back! :( But most really love our classroom environment!

    Thanks for your post - I look forward to reading next week!

    1. So exciting to get my first comment and from you! Thanks so much for your comment. This will be my 40th year of teaching and I am still "livin' the dream." I look forward to the rest of the chapters and learning from your comments on our blogs. D :)