The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of a writing community.
DigiLit Sunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche
Sunday is the day I look ahead at the new school week and put my lesson plans in place. So, I turned on my laptop this morning and opened up all the tabs I need to look backwards and forwards and dream big but figure out small: i.e. lesson plan. I also open my social media pages, sometimes for distraction (yes, I’ll admit that I will stray over when I have trouble concentrating – just what I advise my students not to do!) but mostly for wisdom.
Just this morning, for instance, there was Vicki Vinton posting so brilliantly about solving problems as readers. Before I could do any lesson planning, I had to read Vicki’s post several times (her densely layered, powerful thinking takes time to sink in), and then take the dog out for a long walk so that I could think about her work in relation to my work, and how to bring what I do with my students closer to what Vicki achieves.
Further FaceBook wanderings took me to a link another friend had shared to this article:
These passages stuck with me and almost necessitated another long walk with the dog to mull over and think through:
In classrooms all over the country, the teacher cares more about her students’ grades, learning and futures than they do…Teachers are expected to combat apathy by continually finding new and innovative ways to reach students – through multimedia lessons, group work, games, alternative assessments or whatever it takes. To ensure student engagement and skill acquisition, we must teach to the individual learning styles, interests and abilities of each of our students. If a student can’t learn the way we teach, we must teach the way he learns – times infinity.…this way of thinking has shifted the responsibility of learning, and of caring about learning, from the student to the teacher. Because it isn’t just administrators and parents who believe that it is a teacher’s job to make learning fun. Kids believe it, too. As a result we have a generation of students who think that if a lesson or an assignment or a class is not interesting, if it isn’t engaging and fun and inspiring, then it simply isn’t worth caring about. They are not obligated to care about it. It’s a teacher’s job to make all learning exciting. If the teacher hasn’t lived up to her responsibility, why should the child?
The world isn’t a video game. It doesn’t always offer fun and exciting paths through the mazes of life. So unless we change the way we approach education to include an emphasis on student responsibility, and unless we give our students the basic tools they need to accept that responsibility, we really haven’t taught them much at all.
We have many conversations about cultivating learning habits in our classroom, especially because sixth grade is such an important, gateway year. I try to remind my students that magic happens in our classroom only when they are part of the “show”, not when they are waiting for me to entertain them or show them the way with some flashy new app or game. Today’s article reminded me of how important these conversations are, and how intentional I have to be in continuing them.