5 ways to design a Mistake-Driven classroom

We often hear teacher-led or student-led when describing classrooms, mistakes are an essential characteristic of learning. We don’t simply walk into learning. Even when someone guides us there, we typically have to make a mistake before it sinks in. As a teacher, I know that my students will make mistakes, and lots of them. Therefore, if I am not teaching them how to respond to a mistake, then I am not teaching. Continue reading 5 ways to design a Mistake-Driven classroom

I’m annoyed and I blame it on Paul Solarz (because he is awesome)!

For the last two days, I’ve been reading Paul Solarz’s (that looks weird, I think it should be Solarz’) book Learn Like a Pirate. I am pretty sure he is the best fifth grade teacher ever. This bothers me for two reasons. One is that I am pretty sure I can never reach his skill level. And two, I just left my fifth grade classroom and feel like I need to go back right away to try out all of the things I just learned from his book. Continue reading I’m annoyed and I blame it on Paul Solarz (because he is awesome)!

A Learning Paradox: The battle of being present and preparing for the future

We are constantly telling our children, our students, to prepare for the future, to stay focused on their work so that they will have the opportunities they deserve down the road. Yet, we also frequently think and want to say, don’t grow up too fast, cherish childhood before it gets away from you. So which is it, think ahead or be present? Continue reading A Learning Paradox: The battle of being present and preparing for the future

Learning as the intersection of work and play, part 3: Queries, freedom, and bushwhacking

If we don’t challenge students with queries that dig deep, we limit ourselves in many ways. One is that we limit their ability to see themselves as critical thinkers, as capable of answering big questions. The second is that we limit the opportunity to hear their voices. As Shalaby says, the teacher is the outsider in a classroom of children, not the other way around. In a classroom of children, the restraint of children’s voices is chosen ignorance. Continue reading Learning as the intersection of work and play, part 3: Queries, freedom, and bushwhacking

Learning as the intersection of work and play, Part 2: Run for the race, not the finish line

Sometimes it’s important to run directly and cross the finish line, to test yourself, to gauge where you are. More often, however, it is critical to explore different routes, to try new strategies, review certain courses, to take the adventure where you need it to go. Continue reading Learning as the intersection of work and play, Part 2: Run for the race, not the finish line

What is learning? The intersection of work and play

As I have progressed as a teacher, the most valuable teaching and learning accomplished in my classroom have always felt like play, even when it is work. I think that true learning is the intersection of work and play. If the goal of teaching is to enhance learning, than our goal should be to create that intersection of work and play every day. Continue reading What is learning? The intersection of work and play

How much influence do other kid’s parents have on classroom discipline?

This post is a reflection on an article I just read by Katherine Reynolds Lewis. The article, titled “What if everything you knew about disciplining kids was wrong?” My goal in this post is not only to share my experience, but also to start a conversation about how teachers manage the challenge of teaching while needing to focus what can be a lot of time and energy on an individual student. Continue reading How much influence do other kid’s parents have on classroom discipline?

“Cool is overrated.”

“Cool is overrated.”

But how do I convince a ten year old of this. Do I just have to let them figure it out for themselves? Will any advice I give them really work? Will something I say possibly stick with them? I don’t remember my fifth grade teachers saying anything to this effect.

I have always felt like young children have an inherent wisdom that adults have forgotten along the way. Yet, they also lack the experience that gives adults the knowledge necessary to act wisely. Continue reading “Cool is overrated.”