these 6 things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most

By Fran McVeigh

Focus?

My eyes were devouring the text. Everything about the author. Everything. It’s been my pleasure to know Dave Stuart professionally, online as a blogger and in person, for several years. He is a teacher, author, speaker and thought-leader. Dave’s work impacted my practices and thinking as an educator when he encouraged teachers (and me) to “not freak out” over the Common Core. Many authors have written books about focus. A search for “focus” at Corwin Press had 827 results. A search of Amazon Books for “focus” resulted in 101 pages with a range of 18-19 entries per page. Focus has been a pretty popular topic.

So what’s different?  “Focus on What Matters Most” is the conundrum. Who decides what matters the most? Each teacher? Each grade level? Each building? Each department? Each district? Each state?  Do you see the problem? Dave proposes that we “focus on what we already know” as we work “Smarter, not Harder” and he gives us “permission to simplify.” No fancy language. No slick new strategy. No magic silver bullet. We learn from and with a trusted colleague, as literally, Dave shares how to streamline literacy instruction while increasing student achievement.

There’s a no-nonsense attitude. A bit of a “git-r-done” response. Time spent, yes. Time wasted, no. And that was the core of the #G2Great chat with first-time guest, Dave Stuart, Jr. on Thursday, October 25, 2018, as folks gathered around the #G2Great hashtag to converse and share ways to focus teaching.

But let me give you one last piece of advice . . . this book will not solve all your problems.  This book will not help you work eight hour days or less. If that’s what you are looking for, please stop reading now.  Instead, this book will help you use a decision-making framework that focuses your values, your goals for your students, and some key content areas to work on improving.  YES, improving.  Growing your skills in a few key areas to maximize learning for students. A laser-like focus that will help your students grow into the life-long learners that you know they can be. Your reward will be in knowing that you have done the best that you can! Let’s get started!This was our opening quote. I’m going to invite you to take about 30 seconds now to pause and reflect. Pauses will be inserted at several points for some brief processing time. Pauses like speed bumps. Slow down, pause and think.

What are your thoughts about this opening quote?

What would it change for students in your district?

 

Mt. Everest

Dave argues that teachers need coherence of purpose, or an “Everest Statement” that encapsulates all that they hope to accomplish in a given year. What is the range of expectations for students? Academic? Life-long? Work-related? How broadly do folks think? During our chat, discussion of “Everest Statements” ranged from readers, writers, thinkers, talkers to building relationships with students and teachers and moving striving students to more successful behaviors and habits.

What is your “Everest Statement”?

Did you co-create it with your students?

 

Relationships with Students Matter

Students need to do the work of learning. In order to do quality work, students must see some value in that work in order to complete it with “care, attention, effort and focus.” Otherwise, the work remains undone or of such poor quality that it is difficult to ascertain if students are learning. Teachers don’t have to be master entertainers with cute gimmicks and gadgets for students to learn.  Instead, students need to know that teachers care and that teachers are asking them to do relevant work.

 

How do you connect with students? 

How do the students know that you are credible?

 

Knowledge Required 

Learning does not happen in a vacuum. So many facts can be googled but there is still a basic layer of knowledge that precedes talk about a topic. This aligns with Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. The key is not staying in the low recall level very long. What’s the implication for focus? Reading, writing, speaking and listening have to move to higher levels routinely and often. Analysis and synthesis require students to participate and think. Classroom routines and procedures need to nurture and lift up the complexity of student responses.

 

How often are students moving beyond recall?

What structures do you have in place for discussion?

 

Argument

Being able to disagree with someone without being disagreeable is a learned skill that takes practice and involves both listening and speaking. An argument can be as simple as rehearsing two sides to a question to determine the next course of action or as involved and complicated as a formal debate. Arguments in content area classes can be about which examples best define a vocabulary term or which traits represent historical figures or about which tool has the best consumer product rating in an applied science course. Dave uses “pop-up debates” to practice arguments. This is another example of a way to begin with some basic knowledge through reading, writing, or other media and then build up to evidence of the use of critical thinking.

 

What role does argument play in your classroom?

How might you use oral practice (pop-up debates) to build student skills before writing?

 

Public Speaking

Public Speaking. One of the biggest fears of most adults. If the speaking and listening standards at your school still resemble the Common Core standards, then speech is no longer relegated to a one semester high school course.  Speaking and listening are required of every grade level and every content area PK – 12. That’s not just wishful thinking. Speaking or discussing is an easy formative assessment. Speaking is a quick check for understanding after reading. It’s an important rehearsal skill. And it’s also complex because spoken responses also run the gamut of Bloom’s or DOK skills. There’s also a delicate balance between the level of comfort in sharing ideas and disagreements that is dependent on the level of respect, trust and community in the classroom.

 

What are my expectations of myself for public speaking?

What are the expectations for my students?

 

Does this apply to me?

An elementary teacher friend texted, “Should I check out the chat? Dave’s a high school teacher.” And of course, I said, “YES!  You must!” I believe this is a book that will frame conversations so all teachers can figure out what matters most. It will be incredibly helpful for content area teachers in all secondary classrooms. But I also believe that it’s helpful from the winter holiday on for teachers in second grade and all teachers in grades 3-6 (or any teachers on a PK-12 vertical team) who have ever asked any of these questions:

“How do I focus when planning curricula?”

“How do I focus when planning instruction?”

“How do I focus when preparing school or building wide policies and procedures?”

“How do I focus when feeling stressed or defeated?”

The role of focus in a teacher’s life is undeniable. Being as productive as possible during the teaching day frees up time for families and life outside of school. Time that is necessary to be the best teacher possible for every minute of the school day. Dave’s book won’t make all the decisions for you, but it will give you a framework for self-reflection and conversations with co-workers. That will put you on the path to a focus on WHAT REALLY MATTERS!

What actions will move you forward?

Where will you begin?

 

 

This post reflects some of the ideas from the #G2Great chat with a little background from the book.  You will need to check out the book to get the full picture.

You can simplify your teaching, teach all the standards and have a life. Dave Stuart Jr and these 6 things will start you on that journey. Grab a couple friends, read the free first chapter online, and get the learning started!




Links for Additional Exploration:

Corwin Book

Dave’s Blog

Check out the #NCTE18 program for sessions with Dave Stuart Jr.

Dave Stuart Jr. book signing at NCTE Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 4:15 in the Corwin Booth!

#G2Great chat Wakelet

Carl Anderson – A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences (K-8): Classroom Essentials

by, Jenn Hayhurst

Carl Anderson, joined #G2Great this week and true to form the conversation was positively brilliant! From the first time I started to make the pilgrimage to Teacher’s College, Carl Anderson, was always one of my “have to see” presenters. He has this amazing way of speaking that makes me want to lean in and listen closely with both ears. He blends his extensive knowledge for conferring, personal reflection, and story until his words come out like honey. Golden and sweet and it just makes my teacher soul feel… at home. As I listen to Carl, because in my mind we are good friends, I know that my work with students, the work that matters the most, stems from is just knowing how to listen and to be responsive.

To me, a writing conference suggests all that is good in school. Here we are, two writers, having a really good conversation. A writing conference is our way to help each other learn and experience all that writing brings with it. The thrill and power of a well-chosen word, the ability to capture a moment in time, or the opportunity to share and understand something new. Our one goal is to grow. Together, teacher and student sitting side-by-side the child is speaking and I am listening. So, when I think of conferring, the word that comes to mind is essential.

Listening is undervalued in a world that celebrates the extrovert and speedy responses. Whoever is the loudest and whoever gets there first is the one to be heard. That’s a huge problem when it comes to being a learner. The more I learn to honor what students share with me the more I realize there is not a “right” or “wrong” way to write. There is just the writing process and my students’ approximation of that process. Carl suggests that our work with students is shared but it begins with an open invitation…

I think it’s natural to feel the pressure of filling time and space with words when things get quiet during a conference. I am learning that wait time is a powerful way to leverage engagement. My students are learning how to process their thinking knowing that I am fully invested in them, one child at a time. Time is a precious commodity and who better to spend it on than my students.? How do I know if I am being responsive? I can make the brave choice to video tape my own teaching and watch myself. I can learn alongside an expert and push my professional learning to new levels by watching Carl. These are the practices that #G2Great are founded on…

Young writers approximate their learning. Every time we invite them to expand upon their thinking they begin to refine their process. Talk is the way to cut a path to really knowing the writing process. Writing gives a platform for genuine self-expression. to think deeply, and build up meaningful experiences with spoken and written language.

Conferring can be daunting!  After I’ve given wait time, and explored students’ thinking within the writing process – I have to know what to do next. Knowing how to be responsive means understanding typical patterns, then knowing how to decide on what to do next. A good way to show children what to do is to rely on the experts. There are all kinds of mentors that help students (and teachers) grow…

A conference asks us to lift our presuppositions. A conference is a formative assessment. A conference is an opportunity to teach with gusto, and most of all with heart. It may not always be perfect but it will always be an attempt at grace.  A conference is a live property, it is something unique every time because it is an extension of each student. It is in the moment teaching that tells students that they are trusted  because they are actively informing its process.  They inform the process with their words, their writing, and their values.

 

Learning with Carl, and all the educators who came out to be part of this chat has filled me up with this great sense of wellbeing.  His words of wisdom to this new  teacher is good advice for us all…

Yes, conferring is the work of a professional lifetime. I know I will be striving to continue to grow as a teacher who can listen with with an open mind for the rest of my career. One who seeks to understand my students, and the writing process better one conference, one conversation, at a time.

Links to Learn More With Carl Anderson –

Maximizing Our Potential (part 5): Assessment that Informs

by Mary Howard

This week, #G2Great concluded a 5-part series, Maximizing Our Potential: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters as we enthusiastically turned our attention to Assessment that Informs. I have loved each topic including Allocating Instructional Time, Classroom Design, Student-Centered Learning and Independent Application, but our final chat in the series became the thread that interweaves each topic together in such a powerful way.

This is not the first time that we have put a broader perspective of assessment under the #G2Great microscope and I can assure you it won’t be the last. Like each of you, we are concerned about the lingering impact of the data-driven culture that has permeated our schools and clouded our view of the amazing learners beneath that data. We’ve made many missteps along the meandering pathway that wavers between assessment that informs and assessment that labels. Until we address this mismatch, we are destined to lose our way somewhere between these two contrasting viewpoints.

I looked up “label” and found the tagline “tests labeled him” with synonyms like classify, brand, pigeonhole and typecast:

Then I looked up “inform” and found a very different stance that reflects the heart and soul of our #G2Great dialogue:

I cannot imagine that any knowledgeable educator would opt for categorizing children over using information that would enlighten our understanding and thus elevate instruction. Numerical data is our reality as grades, scores, levels and color-coded spreadsheets have become the norm. To be clear, the danger does not reside in numbers but in the source of numbers and how we choose to use or misuse them through interpretation and decision-making that can naturally rise from the use, purpose and intent of numbers for better or for worse. To clarify this, let’s look at reading levels.

If the source of levels are Accelerated Reader tests used to narrow student text choices, determine who attends AR celebrations, or post AR scores publicly in conflict with privacy laws then we abuse the use, purpose and intent of levels. By contrast, if the source of levels is running records analyzed by knowledgeable educators used as a flexible text selection tool for forming temporary small groups that change over time, then the use, purpose and intent of levels keeps kids at the center. In other words, the quality of our assessment is WHAT we do, WHY we do it and HOW we use this in the most professionally responsible and responsive ways.

With this critical shift in thinking reflective of assessment that informs, I set out to take a closer look at tweets from our amazing #G2great family to find key points of discussion. During my joyful twitter perusal, Ten Assessment Heart Guides began to emerge that support our quest for assessment that maximizes rather than restricts our potential. To highlight the heart guides, I’ll share a few of the tweets that inspired my thinking at the end of this post.

TEN ASSESSMENT HEART GUIDES

Heart Guide #1: Stand up to assessment nonsense

I put this point first because you may as well stop reading unless you take this one to “heart.” The reality is that you all be forced to use data that goes against the grain of research. Acknowledge this reality but refuse to allow it to taint the formative assessment that happens in the confines of your “heart home.” Stop complaining and draw a line in the proverbial assessment sand knowing that no one can rob you of assessment that matters unless you give them permission. So don’t!

Heart Guide #2: Don’t lose sight of your assessment WHY

Now that you’ve broken through the data ties that bind, honor your real assessment purpose: WHY: K-I-D-S. Irrespective of school-based data goals, the ultimate goal of assessment is to understand our learners so that we can design the instructional opportunities they deserve. When we shift our WHY we can shine a spotlight on the whole child and all that entails. When we can do this, the assessment process then highlights the teaching-learning process. This will broaden our WHY which in turn broadens the understandings that we can glean from those assessments.

Heart Guide #3: Let your beliefs guide your assessment actions

Before we can possibly design the assessment that will help us bring our WHY to life, we must be able to verbalize what we value. Ask, “What do I believe?” and then assess that. Heart data is not about gathering numbers to display on a spreadsheet. It’s about assessing the learning experiences that you value so that you can redesign experiences in more effective ways. If we value student engagement in reading, then we put worksheets and grade books away and amp up kidwatching as we observe our values in action.

Heart Guide #4: Create a two-way assessment pathway

Assessment that informs has two distinctive but equally powerful purposes. Obviously the first purpose is to understand each of our learners. But more than that, it is also to understand ourselves. As you assess, don’t just think about what you see and hear as you assess students but also what this says about your professional choices. Quick fix answers are not welcome so dig deeper as you look into the reflective mirror. What responsibility do you have in what students were or were not able to do?  Own it and take it to heart by your actions.

Heart Guide #5: Sharpen your success-based assessment lens

Formative assessment is not a deficit model that reflects a ‘gotcha’ mentality. Rather it is a success-based model where we seek to find out what our children already know, do or understand or are on the cusp of knowing, doing or understanding. When we start there, we create a stepping stone to where we might go from here. And don’t keep this success knowledge a secret. Shout it from the highest rooftops so your colleagues, parents and children will be able to celebrate alongside you. A heart-based view is much more beautiful when we all get to join in the festivities.

Heart Guide #6: Stretch your assessment mindset

By nature, assessment is confined to one moment in time. While these moments are powerful informants, they are too narrow to give us the kind of information that will have the greatest impact on our practices. But when we stretch our perspective over time, we would begin to notice the patterns that could strengthen our understandings. If we gathered assessments across our learning days in varied contexts, settings and experiences over time, we will have references that confirm, refute and deepen what we know.

Heart Guide #7: Infuse transformative life into assessment

Assessment is not a process of gathering but one of intentional decision-making. Knowing what children know is only the starting point since we must then consider the next step actions that will gently nudge them from where they are to where they need to be in a timely fashion. The clock is always ticking but for some children it ticks even louder. Honor the discoveries you have made in the assessment process but turn those NOW discoveries into NEXT STEP possibilities and then hit the ground running to put them into place.

Heart Guide #8: Embrace the gift of in-the-moment assessment

Some of the best assessment opportunities occur when we don’t even plan for them. Few assessment shifts are more powerful than taking it on the road armed with nothing more than a clipboard, a pencil, and your curiosities about children. Engage your children in on-the-spot conversations by rotating as you transform from teacher to fly on the wall observer. Acknowledge the impact of closing your mouth so they can open theirs since the more they are doing the talking, the more you aren’t. These talk moments where we listen in on student conversations are an assessment goldmine.

Heart Guide #9: Create your own ‘behind the lens’ assessment

No matter how skilled you are at the observational process of assessment, it is simply not possible to notice everything. When we assess, we attempt to pay attention to all that children say and do but in the process you will inevitably miss some of the most informative knowings of all. Video tape a lesson and use this to capture the noticings that may reside just beneath the surface. To make this process even more powerful, invite a colleague to help you capture important details you are sure to have missed.

Heart Guide #10: Make assessment personal by turning the tables

I would be remiss if I didn’t return full circle to heart guide #1 and the most questionable district mandated assessment of all – those dastardly data discussions. I wonder if we would be proud of our dialogue if we imagined that our children were sitting in that room with us. What would they hear? What would they think? How would they feel? Although we can’t invite them to data meetings, we can display their photograph in full view to give those numbers a face. We must never forget that regardless of designated data, we are talking about living, breathing children and the decisions that we make will have a lingering impact on their success or failure.

Last week, my friend and co-moderator, Fran McVeigh, eloquently opened her blog post on independent application by reviewing the first three topics of our series. So in celebration of the completion of our wonderful series, I’d like to return to the idea I posed at the beginning of this post describing assessment that informs as the thread that interweaves each topic together.

The image above visually reflects this interweaving of topics. Notice that our thread, assessment that informs, is intentionally placed at the center of those four topics. This reflects that we use assessment to inform our professional decisions by considering the best instructional options based on the learning needs of our children:

We allocate instructional time based on assessment that informs

We create a classroom design based on assessment that informs

We identify student-centered learning based on assessment that informs

We build in independent application based on assessment that informs

In other words, assessment that informs is always in the service of each instructional topic

The red outer arrows reflect this ongoing cyclical process where instruction and assessment are inseparably connected. This is not based on scripted instruction using scripted assessments out of obligatory compliance to a scripted program. Rather, it is based on knowledgeable teachers who use assessment informants to design research-based literacy practices that interweave assessment and instruction based on the unique learning needs of students. These informants can change our thinking and thus our instruction as new informants support or refute new thinking. Publisher-driven directives could never accomplish this dynamic process.

As I pause for a moment to soak in these heart guides inspired by our #G2Great family, I want to express “heartfelt” appreciation for each of you who are willing to call your own teaching to task. We may live in a politically fueled data driven culture, but we do not need to park our hats there my friends. My ten assessment heart guides are critical and each of them are all feasible when you let your heart lead the way. Never lose sight of the role you play and what can happen when you take ownership of all that you do.

From the bottom of our collective hearts, we are forever grateful to you for bringing your heart to #G2great each week!

Some #G2great tweets that inspired this post

Revisit the chats in this series using the links below

Date Chat Title Wake Blog

10/11/18

Maximizing Our Potential part 5: Assessment That Informs Wake Blog
10/4/18

Maximizing Our Potential part 4: Independent Application

Wake Blog
9/27/18

Maximizing Our Potential part 3: Student-Centered Learning

Wake Blog
9/20/18

Maximizing Our Potential part 2: Classroom Design

Wake Blog
9/13/18 Maximizing Our Potential part 1: Allocating Instructional Time Wake

Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Maximizing Our Potential: Independent Application (4/5)

By Fran McVeigh

The curtain rose on our fourth chat in our “Maximizing Our Potential Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters” with new friends from #LitBankStreet as well as other first time “chatters”, on October 4, 2018. It was quickly apparent that our topic was of great interest.  And yet, as I reviewed the Wakelet I wondered about how the topic of “Independent Application” fit into the context of the entire series.

As I began looking for patterns and themes in the tweets,  it dawned on me that all of these topics have some dependence on each other.  The way teachers and students “spend their time” depends upon what they value in terms of student-centered learning and independent work. Classroom design is dependent on the amount of access students have to the resources within the classroom as well as the amount of time allocated for learning and the priorities for learning. Student-Centered Learning also shapes the classroom design and the flexibility of Independent Application.  None really operate “in isolation” and that is both a blessing and a curse in education.  The research “says” so many variables are influencers but has a hard time pin-pointing with laser-like precision whether it’s “this” or “that” factor because instruction, curriculum and assessment have variables as do the teacher and the many students bodies facing the teacher. So let’s begin with a bit of a review.

Part 1 began with Val Kimmel’s post:Part 2 continued with Mary Howard’s post: Part 3 continued with Jenn Hayhurst’s post: And that brought me to this chat and part 4:  Independent Application

Quality Independent Application has many definite attributes. Quality implies that it is “worthy.”  Independent suggests that the goal is for the task to be done by the student without assistance. Application adds a layer of “work” to further instruction and practice. But what does that really look like?  Many teachers have had much practice using a gradual release of responsibility model that appears to place Independent Work in the final phase of the instructional cycle as the “You do it alone” work. But it could just as easily be that check or reflection at the beginning of the class period on yesterday’s learning.

Source Link

If we truly believe our goal as teachers is to provide a safe and nurturing classroom designed for optimal learning, filled with a community of self-directed learners we have to do less. The adults in the room have to establish the conditions that will increase agency and leadership in the students.  Kym summed this up in this tweet:So how do we get there? What does Quality Independent Application look like?

Includes Choice

Quality Instructional Application does NOT produce cookie cutter pages to fill a bulletin board in stencil fashion. It involves real choices that allow students to showcase their learning in different ways. This is not homework as we used to know it because students have the opportunity to make decisions about their learning products. Students could choose their final product: a song, a poem, artwork, a TedTalk or even an essay to provide evidence of their learning. We hear about this type of learning from students who say, “let us show you the different ways we know this.” Student passion for a topic can then drive their learning so fewer incentives are needed.

Is Authentic and Meaningful

Quality Instructional Application is NOT a worksheet or busy work. Instead it includes authentic and meaningful tasks that students will find in the real world. Real work and real world.  Not school work and the school world. Students are not asking “Why do we need to know this?” because that purpose has already been established within the classroom’s culture of learning.

Feedback Fuels the Work

Quality Instructional Application is NOT about a grade in the grade book or points earned for a completed task. It may be a conference with a peer or the teacher about the learning process and the product. It may be using checklists or rubrics to check understanding as well as plan next steps. Feedback is also about comparing student work to mentor texts or student examples to deepen understanding about the task criteria. Feedback may be an excited utterance in the hall or a whispered reflection from the student that names the student learning. During the learning process approximations are valued and students know where they are because the learning targets are clear and concise. Self awareness, reflection and processing are valued as students continue to progress through learning cycles.

Includes Practice for Transfer

Quality Instructional Application is NOT about a race for mastery of standards and learning objectives in lock step fashion.  It is about providing the time and practice necessary for deep learning so that students can and do independently use the learning across the day, in additional content areas, and in unique situations in the real world. Time for the practice that is needed means allowing for differences in student learning with a focus on helping students discover the ways that they best learn. How many times does Joey need to do the work before it all makes sense?

Promote Student Ownership

Quality Instructional Application is NOT sticker charts for every successful learning activity.  It is about learning tasks that are hard work and include productive struggle. Students will embrace challenges and learn that real work does come before success. FAIL equals “First Attempt in Learning.” If the student always “gets the learning” on the first practice, maybe it’s not challenging enough or maybe the expectations are too low. Or maybe students need to be more involved in the design and delivery of the learning experiences (that pesky student-centered learning). The confident smile on the face as evidence of learning means more than a grade and provides additional reasons to set students free on their own learning paths.

These five areas are characteristics that you might use when reflecting on Independent Application.  Where do you see them?  Where might you see more of them?  Which ones are most important to you and your students?




Additional Resources

Wakelet Link

Previous Posts

Part 1 Allocating Instructional Time

Part 2 Classroom Design

Part 3 Student-Centered Learning

Maximizing Our Potential Focusing on the Literacy Work That Matters Student Centered Learning

By, Jenn Hayhurst

On Thursday, September 27, 2018, the #G2Great PLN had a brilliant conversation regarding the importance of student-centered learning. After all, students (and their needs) are what teaching is all about. That sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? It would be a perfect world if that were easily done; although, the reality is that teachers are pulled in many directions throughout the school day. There are pacing guides with curriculum goals. There are standards and grade level expectations. There are report cards, progress reports, and parent meetings. There are so many meetings: RTI, faculty, and data meetings just to name the top three. All of which have a purpose and are designed to keep students and their needs at the forefront. However, it is the day-to-day work that is the grease for that machine. It is the softer formative assessments in the hands of a highly skilled teacher that help children to learn and grow.

When I think of learning and growth the word steady comes to mind.  Yet, we are living in a world marked by change: technology, politics, or global demographics are all shifting beneath our feet. For these reasons,  now more than ever, we need to have the conversation as to HOW we can become more student-centered because learning and relevance are two sides to the same coin. 

Defining Purpose: A Passionate Pursuit

I think the reason Twitter is so important to teachers is that it gives us a platform to clarify what we value within a plurality.  It connects us to other professionals who push us to think more deeply and to reflect daily. I know that is what it does for me. As I read these tweets I feel a fire in my heart and I want to call out to anyone who will listen, “Learning and passion are inextricably linked!” Student-centered learning means that children are wide awake and are learning because they are connected to the process:

Authentic Learning: A Serious Shift

Teachers who dare to create authentic learning experiences for children have to believe in themselves. In a world so full of doubt and criticism it can be daunting to be an agent of change. It can be hard to take that first step away from a scripted lesson plan. After all, we are just teachers. No. It is because we are teachers that we must take an informed look at the lesson plan, curriculum goals, and grade level expectations.  Then we can consider who are students are and how we can build momentum. When it comes to learning, experiencing success is essential!  When we see ourselves as the “facilitator”,  when we understand how to use “formative assessment, when we focus on ways for students to “engage in the work,” we are shifting the focus to student-centered learning:

Deconstructing NormsA Shared Structure

The days of reading from a scripted program really need to be over. Our students are coming into our classrooms with a wide range of life experiences, access to languages, and world knowledge.  We cannot assume that what they bring will be familiar to us.  In many ways, this new normal is a gift. We have so much to learn from one another. Educators who practice student centered teaching share the responsiblity for learning with their students. These teachers are keenly aware which studens are ready be more independent. Teachers who embrace student centered learning are open to their own learning process knowing that there is always room to grow.

We are teachers, who value our students and all that they bring into our classrooms. A student-centered classroom is marked by a community voice. It is not about me and what I have to teach you. It is about us and what we have to learn.  Thank you, for learning with me.