So, I got up early this morning. It’s 10:30 p.m. on the East coast in the U.S. I have almost made it through the month of March and my first Slice of Life, 2017. I don’t want to quit, so I’m writing this quick post. Quick because I also promised myself and my students that this day I would give them the list of spelling words that we made together. Individual students and I chose words based on ones they misspell in their work and vocabulary they chose for themselves from their last story.
Here is a partial list that I am now going to type up with names and print off for my students to add to their notebooks:
I know this is impractical. There has to be a better way because I won’t do it like this weekly or even biweekly. As is usually my style, I tend to experiment and then tweak it to improve.
I even realized if I would have written more neatly with space between, I could have just sliced this paper and given each a handwritten list after taking a photo for my records.
I just took a break and started looking online for resources:
How can I empower students to own their own learning?
Carol called questions like this burning questions. This is a burning question in my professional life. I’ve been saying it and trying it since 2011, when I first learned about Alan November’s book called, Who Owns the Learning? I struggle in my current situation because teaching and learning are much more traditional and academic than what I’ve been used to. I sometimes feel I am going uphill in a rowboat.
I don’t ever want to give up, but sometimes I struggle passing the learning torch on to my students.
I am trying to help students own learning, but to tell the truth I’m a little discouraged now. Here, perhaps as a reminder to myself, are some things I’m attempting:
Self-assessment checklists of learning
Tests can be retaken after students master the material
Student learning presentations to parents by students instead of parent teacher conferences
Students have a safe place to own their strengths and weaknesses, where they don’t have to pretend to be something they aren’t
Authentic audiences for student work–pen pals, a global audience through global projects, Twitter, and our class and individual blogs
Less emphasis on grades
Figuring out problems instead of easy answers
Student classroom jobs
Students believe: “All are students, all are learners”
I would appreciate any advice. What am I missing that I need to try or renew?
Here are a couple of images that inspired me today:
Last night, I was reminded of the old story, The Princess and the Pea. My husband is trying to heal a bad back and looking for just the right mattress.
Since we have a memory foam pad on our bed, last night’s experiment was for him to not use the memory foam. We just folded the pad over onto my side of the bed, and I fell into a big soft pillow, falling right to sleep like a princess.
However, like the princess in the story, my sleep was disrupted with a bit of tossing and turning. Unlike the princess, it was not because I felt some foreign object through all the mattresses. I felt a bit smothered by all the softness.
Another day of external review / inspections at our school. It’s been a lot of work and a bit of stress. Today I forgot all about my writing, and spent all evening getting my students’ Mother’s Day posts up and running for the moms. It’s now almost bedtime, and another busy day tomorrow.