Saturday, August 27, 2011

An Impossible Classroom: Constructing for Success

   Girl Reading a Book clip art One of my main concerns in the classroom is the construction of a positive classroom. There is a way to create an atmosphere where students will thrive, and a lot of it is common sense. Here are a few things I do:

1) Allow plenty of time for students to work in pairs or groups. They love to talk, don't you, and when they can learn socially their learning and attention increases. My kids actually sit in groups to make it very easy for them to interact.

2) Stop talking so much! So, your a teacher, but teaching doesn't equate to learning. Know the approximate attention span of your students and keep your mini-lessons to that time. You shouldn't be doing all the work, your students should. I do about 10-minute lessons, then students work. I rotate between mini-lessons and student activities. You won't have to keep asking your kids to listen to you if you keep it brief.

3) Build around the interests of your students. I look at what they want to learn in a lesson (typically when doing a KWL chart, or just through the process of knowing them and their interests) and construct lessons that way.

4) Give choices. My students get a lot of freedom in the classroom, and I can tell by their behavior that they enjoy the freedom.

   I would love to hear how you build your own positive classroom.

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