Chapter 1: Teaching with Intention

Are you ready for something epic this summer?  I am teaming up with the fabulous and amazingly talented Mr. Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard to bring you a virtual book study!  Check it out.  The book we will be reading together is called Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller.  There are over 600 teachers who have signed up to do this book study together!  That alone is impressive!  We read one chapter each week and there will be chapter hosts that drive conversation topics by providing questions for bloggers to reflect upon and blog about.  I get to co-host chapter 8.  Are you ready for this?  Grab your book, your flair pens & highlighters, a cozy spot, and let’s get started!
The book starts out with a very quick but impactful chapter one.  I knew within the first five minutes of reading that this book was going to be speaking my language.  Chapter one was all about the ideal classroom.  Debbie Miller describes the perfect classroom as a place that is really hard to leave.  I’d like to think that my own students feel that way about our classroom.  An indicator of this would be our end of the year good-byes.  Two weeks ago I closed out my tenth year of teaching and I would be lying if I didn’t say that tears were shed by both  myself and my students.  

 My ideal classroom would be a space that feels warm and inviting as soon as you walk through the door.  The walls would be filled with student work and evidence of learning.  When you look around there is an organized system that the students can easily navigate.  There is plenty of technology that the students know how to use and are comfortable using.  You would see lots of smiles and students enjoying themselves.  My ideal classroom does not sound perfectly quiet all day.  Don’t get me wrong, there are moments in the day when I expect it to be quiet but generally speaking, the ideal classroom to me has a little buzz to it.  Students are collaborating, excited about the content, and having inquiring conversations about learning.

 In an ideal classroom the students are respectful, empathetic, and inquisitive.  You would find them learning in a way that they feel comfortable.  That might be at a table, on the floor, or even standing up.  Students would feel like they were in charge of their learning.  Flexible working groups would be happening throughout the day in all subjects being taught.  Students would know what their current academic goals are at all times.  This would be done through the guidance of the teacher.  Student work would be looked over, corrected in a timely fashion, and used as a guide to determine future learning for each individual student’s needs.  The teacher of an ideal classroom would be one that has earned the respect of his/her students.  A teacher in an ideal classroom is one who is passionate and loves their job and serves as more of a facilitator to the learning that is taking place.

I feel like this question will always have an answer for me, no matter how many years I have been teaching.  Teaching is one of those professions that you will never be perfect and have it all covered to mastery.  I hope that in my final year of teaching I can still have this growth mindset because everybody can improve on something in their life.

The part that I would like to improve on is my flexible groupings, accessibly technology, and timely correcting of paperwork.    I have a new 2nd grade team to work with in the upcoming school year.  We have big plans to meet regularly as a Professional Learning Community (PLC) to discuss our essential questions:

1.  What do we want our students to learn?
2.  How will we know they have learned it?
3.  How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty?
4.  How will we respond when a student already knows it?

We also plan to share students and use flexible groupings for 30 minutes of tier reading time and 30 minutes of tier math time every day.  As for the paperwork and technology.  Well, one takes time and the other takes money.  There is only so much control that a person can have over these things but there are plans in the works!

Like many of you, I spend countless hours in my classroom in an attempt to make this space better and better.  One of the aspects of an ideal classroom that I feel is in place for me is what you will see on the walls.  My classroom has student work and anchor charts all over the place.  Secret confession:  I LOVE to make bulletin board displays and anchor charts!  Seriously.  Love.  This is not a chore for me.  When I can find the perfect border, title, background paper/fabric, and way to display the project I am happy!  I store an extra pad of anchor chart paper at my house so I can prep them ahead of time because I like to spend the time making them look nice!  Please tell me I’m not alone?

Here is my  2014-2015 Classroom Reveal.  I can’t wait to show you what I have in store for the upcoming school year because there are some big changes that I will be making!  Here is a video tour from my classroom as well.

Another area of my classroom that I feel confident about is the way my students learn and interact.  My students know that I am a HUGE ADVOCATE for GOOD CHARACTER and KINDNESS towards others.  One person and program that has helped instill this in my students is Rusty over at School Tools TV.  His daily 1-minute video and discussion follow-up is a great start to our day.  I can’t wait to meet him this coming fall when he comes to our school to do an assembly and meet & greet.  What an amazing and inspiring man!

Thanks for reading my post and make sure you come back next week as I reflect on Chapter 2:  Defining Beliefs and Aligning Practices!

3 Comments

  1. Jessica Plemons

    It's always a great feeling when students are sad to leave your class and parents beg you to teach the next grade level. Makes all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it! Your classroom is adorable, btw 🙂

    Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

    Reply
  2. Debbie K

    I went to buy your camping unit but the price in your store is $6. Did I miss it?
    Always Primary

    Reply
  3. Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd

    Love this!!! And oh you betcha I'm alllll about making the anchor charts pretty and I too LOVE making bulletin boards!!! #isitjulyyet

    Reply

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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