Thursday, June 11, 2015

Learning like a Pirate Chapter 2!

Thanks for rejoining me for chapter two of Paul Solarz’s book Learn Like a Pirate. There are no easy fixes in elementary or education, but there are new ways of doing things. Sometimes the new things work, and sometimes they don’t. Teachers want to be open-minded, creative, and adventurous, but I think sometimes they stall. They get into a pattern of doing things; after all we are human, right?!

This chapter is all about dispelling myths or comments that people always have about any new practice in education. I thought back to this morning when I was talking with my friend, Elizabeth, and I said, “As long as you stick to what you say, you will have no problems in fourth grade.” Looking back at my notes I took when reading this chapter, I saw that I boxed in this quote…

Chapter 2 lets me know that I am still the final say so. There isn’t anything new to add to the plate really, it’s just better planning. It’s having more meaningful activities that allow the standards to stick in their brains. It’s providing the hands on career readiness skills that we need them to know, and really it eliminates that question, “Why do I need to know this?”

My goal this next school year is to give more meaningful feedback. We had a PD during the last month of school about the new Grading for Learning policy elementary schools will be doing. The one things that stuck with me was that there was a study done that showed that students who had a grade on their paper made little growth from knowing their grade, students who received meaningful feedback grew a bit, but students who received a grade and comments made the least amount of growth. (Here is the article so you can read more.) So, my head is turning! What can I do in order to help my kids do better? I created a packet that will help me get started with the process of data recording and giving feedback. It included a tracker for me to look quickly to see who I have spoken to and who I haven't. Of course, since I am reading about Learning like a Pirate, I had to make this packet pirate themed! Here is a freebie to get you started as well! You can purchase the pack in my store on teachers pay teachers.

Of course, I am terrified of starting this in my room, but I want my kids to do well. I want them to learn how to question. I want them to run effectively and smoothly. I thought about this year, with the darlings I had, and how I let them be the reason we didn’t do certain activities. Also, I thought about how the kids had to wait on me because my phone was ringing off the hook, or another teacher came in to ask me about some test! I realized I lowered my expectations for them. My kids can do this.

I also hope I can find more information about this daily photo journal. How cool would that be to have? Kids could take pictures of their projects as they are doing them. If they find an interesting fact, they can snap a pic.

What are some reservations that you have about starting a student-led classroom?

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