During the first week of school, I sat down with my students and asked them what they wanted to learn about. Together we made a list.
- Becoming a Vet
- Planes and Jets
- Inside peoples Bodies
It was a shorter list than I thought it would be. Many kids just agreed with others about what they wanted to learn but maybe the honesty and trust isn’t there yet. I get it is a process.
Anyways, I spent part of my weekend on Ottawa Public Library reserving books that they are interested in. I currently have 129 books on hold. This means many trips to and from the library but it is SO worth it to have choice and my students excited about learning in my class. It is another way that I can show my students that they matter.
I’m hoping that as time goes on, the list of what they want to learn about gets bigger and bigger.
The first week of school is always a whirlwind. New students, students’ parents, colleagues and routines. It is hard to balance it all and all of the incoming paperwork. My week was crazy, tiring and joyful.
I wouldn’t trade the craziness for anything. I am feeling grateful that I’m back in the classroom doing what I love to do, with amazing new colleagues and very excited students.
This is my first time teaching a Grade 1/2 split and so far, although I keep on getting more, I currently have 25 students. I have never been through a re-org before and not sure what and if it will happen. Time will tell but excited to figure out the puzzle of my classroom this weekend.
Here are some things that we did this week that I’m excited about:
We started having a community circle every morning, An idea that I took from Cara Cahill who was awesome enough to share her day plans with me. So far we have talked about our favourite colour and activity and we also problem solved the problem of loud volume levels during group work.
We started Daily 5:
I’m excited about this since it will give our day some structure and give me some time to meet one on one with my students.
We created a class name and began our Go Noodle journey. My class loves it. Our class name is ‘Amazing Fun Canada Class.’
We created a time capsule including their name, age, favourite colour and a picture of themselves. We sealed the time capsule and will open it during the last week of school.
What they want to learn about:
We created a list today about what they want to learn about. It was a good, diverse list. Some of the topics they want to learn about are animals, science, planets, rules for soccer, basketball and hockey.
So this year I’m focusing on my WITH philosophy, essentially I’m doing everything with my students. But how do you set up a classroom without them when you want to do with them? I really struggled with this. I wanted my classroom to be inviting and comfortable for us to get to know each other and lunch time but I wanted it really unset up so we could set it up together.
Well, I guess I set it up anyways. I tried to do just the essentials and kept everything else movable or blank. The computer corner has to stay where it is due to the internet plugs but everything else is game to be moved.
From the first day, I’m going to let my students know that we are going to set up the room how they want it/need it. Then they can start looking at the room critically and we will see what is working and what isn’t.
I have to be honest, I am nervous. But giving my students more choice and say is important and a risk I’m willing to take.
Wish me luck!
This year I’m trying a new teaching philosophy and I’m calling it my WITH project.
I am going to do everything WITH my students from designing our classroom, to what and how we learn. Even my grades and discipline matters will be decided WITH them. That means a lot of discussions and conferences but I’m so excited for this change.
The core ideas behind WITH is:
World connections through skype, Projects by Jen, and Global Read Aloud.
Independent means that they are in charge of their learning, they go get the materials they need, they sit and learn how they want to.
Their Voice Matters means showing my students that they matter through blogging, skyping, asking questions.
Honesty is essential when working in this philosophy. I’m asking my students to be 100% honest with me so I can truly help them.
Thanks to Pernille Ripp for her amazing book Passionate Learners which pushed me in this direction!
This is a tutorial and the way that I plan on keeping notes on the conferences I have with my students. This video focuses on the students reflecting on their goal, making a new goal and my comments.