Two Significant Observations

I have been on this quest to turn my classroom into a fully integrated and differentiated inquiry-based reading/writing/tech wizardry zone. I have also been failing miserably at it. Then today I noticed two things:

1. I have changed. So I’m not where I want to be, but today was the third time this week (and it’s only Wednesday) that my kids were in groups. I have always loved group work, but last year it was a way to spice up the regular lesson, a way to teach when I had just the right activity for it. Now it is how I teach. I still lecture sometimes, but group work is now my everyday method, not my special occasion method.  In fact, in one period today, I used lecture as a threatened punishment if students didn’t get on task.

2. I’m not really realistic in how I imagine things. This was apparent when I asked my husband to drop the kids off on his way to work so I could finish my planning for tomorrow. In my head, this sounded like a lovely idea. I had large sheets of paper for them to color on and crayons at the ready. I imagined they would quietly sit while I sorted and copied papers. However, once daddy was gone, all heck broke loose. They screamed and argued over whose desk the crayons were on, they climbed on a stool to steal all my note cards, they even tried to swipe my Easy Button. My kids weren’t any different from usual; I just imagined the hour going differently and became frustrated when my kids acted like kids. I think my lesson planning is probably the same way…if the lesson doesn’t match my imagination, I deem it a failure rather than looking for the successes.

So maybe I’m not such a failure after all.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Two Significant Observations

  1. I find groups work well only within a structured format that allows for creativity, too. Plus, accountability for everyone (otherwise, the slackers slack and the high achievers get frustrated) Ack — that is the difficult balance to achieve.

    Kevin

    • hrmason

      I think that’s why group work needs to be an regular part of the classroom. Students need to know what is expected from that type of lesson the same way they do a lecture or reading assignment. The indivual accountabilty, I agree, is extremely important and another thing that I have been more aware of this year.

  2. We often forget to step back and look at the areas of success, deeming the whole darn project ‘not done’ until every element of our dream is complete. The thing is that as we go through the process of giving life to our vision, our dream shifts. Our vision changes. So it can never be complete, never ‘done’ in that way.

    I’m glad you took the time to notice where you are successful.

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