So begins a brand new year. I won’t lie, it’s been a little different this year. I want to give a shout out to all those teachers who don’t have their own classrooms and teach in the rooms that are not being used by random homeroom teachers.
I found myself in a very different place this year. With my job slightly changing and not having a classroom to call my own I was very apprehensive about starting off this year. I have to thank one of my grade partners who has basically let me take over parts of his room and teach my literacy block. I made a deal with him and took over some board space (chalk and bulletin) for daily routine type stuff and in turn am sharing a SmartBoard with him. We’re finding the partnership quite great and it has really forced us to share ideas and really team teach. We’ve had some great opportunities to learn from each other and talk about theory and practice.
Now to get to the actual classroom work. I think the big question of the month that I’m really throwing out to my students (though I haven’t introduced it yet) is “WHO AM I AS A LEARNER?” I’m a huge believer in metacognition and sharing learning responsibilities with my room full of learners. If they have a strong sense of how they learn they will not only be able to improve their learning but they will also advocate for it.
So far my homeroom partner and I have tried the following activities to start getting them to think about their learning styles:
1. What do mathematicians do? (This question is posed to students to get them to think about all the skills needed to think critically about mathematics)
2. Inventory Checklists (multiple intelligences, learning styles, etc.)
3. History is integrated into the language program and in order to get the maximum benefit of time we’ve been looking at current affairs (Quebec Election) to discuss the evolving relationship of all Canadians and the American Election as a catalyst to talk about agents of change. This will evolve into a couple major ideas….the first is civil society and the important role each of my students can play in changing their lives and the lives of those around them as well as linking it to the major theme of “conflict and change” in the history curriculum. The central question that I’m hoping to introduce in this unit is “Why is change important and how can I be an agent of change?”
The BIG QUESTION NOW! How is it going so far?
Well I’m not going to lie, I do have a great class and they’re absolutely up for anything! I have taught many of the students before (about half) and know them pretty well. But it’s still not perfect. I started taking my unit on change first from a Global Scale. I thought the class has seen so many civil society organizations at that level and they would take to it. And they did, but I don’t think they completely saw the personal investment part. I think I may have given up too quickly when I decided to bring it back to the school level and perhaps confused a good majority of them. So now I’m going back to the drawing board to decide how I want to re-approach this. We’re taking a one day change break so I can re-group. In the mean time I’m looking back at the week that we’ve had so far and having my students reflect on the importance of oral language and assess their own uses of their oral language skills. It is still technically change….no?
If anyone has any thoughts I’d love to hear from you.