Posts Tagged ‘WITH philosophy’

Setting our Classroom Up TOGETHER

I said on the 1st day of school that it is their classroom. Today I showed them. We created our classroom today. All the ideas were given and voted on by the students.

We first started with where we wanted to put the smartboard, then to desks. 

This is all the variations they came up for our desks.

Every student had a say and then we moved. It was loud, busy, and amazing. To see the before pics, check them out here. Here is the final outcome.

I really enjoyed this process. We had to problem solve through it which was really cool. I’m really proud of what they decided on.  What do you think?

This is going to be harder than I thought

Based on my summer reading ‘Passionate Learners’ by Pernille Ripp, I really want to give my students more choice.
I have been trying… I told them it is their classroom and to give suggestions about setting it up, classroom jobs, where they sit, where to hang their backpack, pencil sharpening, loud voices. All their suggestions aren’t really helpful. I know if takes time to build trust for brutal honesty but I’m not sure if they ‘know how to do school’ like Pernille talks about.

So far it really isn’t working. Today in Math, they were not listening and being silly. So I straight out asked ‘what is going on?’ They know that they are supposed to be sitting quietly and listening so they just told that back to me. I asked them ’ are you bored’ and an honest yes came out. I asked who was bored and most of my class raised their hand. A brutal honest truth which is exactly what I wanted.

Now what to do. I am going to talk about our ‘I can statements’ tomorrow and I’m going to let them decide how they are going to learn it. I am unsure of how this will go. I guess we will see.

What do your students want to learn about?

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
  • Animals
  • Planes and Jets
  • Science
  • Volcanoes
  • Planets
  • Skylanders
  • Pokemon
  • Lego
  • 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.

Classroom Set up and reflecting on my WITH philosophy

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!

WITH project


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!