I am linking up again today with The Primary Gal for chapter 3 in her Learn Like a Pirate book study. If you missed my last two postings, you can find them here:
Chapter 1- What is a Student Led Classroom?
Chapter 2 - Common Concerns About Student Led Classrooms
I may not be the world's biggest football fan, but I have to agree with Vince Lombardi on this one - teamwork is essential in today's world. What are we doing to prepare our students to be successful team members? Am I doing enough in my classroom? This chapter is all about collaboration which Paul Solar says, "...is the cornerstone of a student-led classroom." He says that he tells his students, "Two brains are better than one!" I LOVE that!
We're In This Together
Solarz emphasizes the need for the classroom to be a collaborative community. In his classroom he has chosen not to micro-manage, but instead discusses expectation together. Everyone has a voice and is encouraged to share his or her thoughts.
"Give Me Five" - Empower Students to Lead
I have seen many teachers (including myself) use the "Give Me Five" signal as a way to get student attention. The difference here is that the students in a student led classroom also have the power to use this signal. Wow! What a game changer! I would have no idea how to implement this in my classroom, but luckily Paul explains his method so I can try it out myself. He gives suggestions for:
*How students use Give-Me Fives in the Classroom
*How to introduce Give-Me Fives
*Teaching students to use their power wisely
I know it will be a big learning curve for the students and myself as well, but this is definitely something I will be adding to my classroom this year.
Provide Spaces That Encourage Learning
This will probably be the easiest thing for me to implement from this chapter since I already do it. I have 4 large rectangle tables in my class that the students use as desks, but they don't spend much time sitting there. They are allowed to spread out around the room wherever they are most comfortable. Most of the time this means they are on the floor, but I think they learn best when they are comfortable.
|The BEST seat in the house!|
Paul gives several suggestions for using partnerships in the classroom. He not only gives several ways to assign them, but also reasons for using partnership including:
* Assigning partnerships to improve interaction
* Using responsibility partners to raise the bar
* Teaching strategies for dealing with conflict
I have used partnerships extensively in my classroom, but I LOVE some of the suggestions Paul gives for making them work even better!
I always love when I find my teaching practices affirmed in a great book like this, and again I am finding ways to improve on what I am currently doing! I have a morning meeting already in place, but, I love some of the suggestions given in this chapter. Paul has even given some suggestions of meeting topics that he has used within his classroom to give you a jumping point to start off on. My mind is spinning with great ideas!
Using Shared Reading to Teach Empathy
Again, another practice affirmed! I love using shared reading to get my students to be more empathetic. Solarz recommends using the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio at the beginning of the year to build empathy in your classroom. Two years ago, I read this with my 4th graders, and now that I am looping with my current 3rd graders to 4th grade, I had planned to read it again.
Some of my other favorites are:
* The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
* The One and Only Ivan
* How to Steal a Dog
* Dear Mr. Henshaw
Promoting the Right Kind of Competition
While competition in the classroom can be damaging, Paul focuses on internal competition with each student continually competing to do their best. He tries to have the students zero in on what it means to try one's hardest and how to bring peers along for the ride.
So far, this has been my favorite chapter and I can't wait to keep reading!
Chapter 1 - What is a Student-Led Classroom?