Learning is about making connections …

This morning I had a chance to sit in a 5th grade class …

And I was impressed …

The students came in, followed the directions on the ActivBoard, and did not make much noise at all …

So I just sat and watched trying to figure out what was going on …

I mean we only have 2 weeks of school left and this was not what I expected …

But I think that is it …

It was what the teacher expected …

She had established high expectations …

And students lived up to them!

After the students unpacked, they each brought their science homework to the teacher who was sitting at the back table. The teacher quickly checked over the homework, and shared quick comments with each student. If a student needed to make a correction, she was able to ask individual questions to help the student realize what needed to be done, as well as provide teaching examples to guide thinking. This was done in a positive way in a low voice. The teacher had a sheet to keep track, so she knew exactly who she had seen and who needed to still come back to see her.

When I taught 4th grade, I remember asking students to place their homework or reading logs on their desks, and I walked around the room to check them. I think I was trying to minimize the amount of students movement around the room, but that meant that I had to move all around and keep track of where I had and had not been. I think I collected papers and checked them at a later time, which did not really allow students to know right away what they had correctly or incorrectly done.

Sitting in that 5th grade classroom this morning prompted me to really reflect and think about what I did as a teacher …

And how I would hopefully do things different if I go back into a classroom …

I was impressed with how calmly and quietly the students moved through the space and accomplished the needed tasks …

Maybe a reason for the calm was the teacher was in one place and not moving …

Maybe a reason for the calm was the low level of the teacher’s voice …

(that is something I am still not good at)

Maybe a reason for the calm was the established expectations …

(I know that must be a big part of the reason)

And I was really impressed with the learning conversations that were happening with individual students …

The focus of the learning conversation with each student was only that student and what he or she needed to move the learning ahead …

I wonder what I can learn from my morning in this 5th grade classroom and apply to what I do …

The need for clear expectations The need for me, as the teacher or facilitator, to minimize my movement to help set a tone for the room … or at least to have a purpose for the movement in the environment The need to focus on each individual instead of the group as a whole all the time The need for relationships and learning conversations I would like to think that the professional learning/ professional development sessions I have done recently have been more like learning conversations with contributions from all as opposed to me just standing in front of the room ….

Learning is about making connections …

And establishing relationships can help make those connections …

I think those are goals or areas of focus for me …

What are some goals or areas of focus for you?

Posted on our original Blog site by Melissa-Edwards

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