Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Opening Minds Ch. 7-9
Isn't it fun when you choose to read a new professional book like Opening Minds and as you are reading you realize that some of the suggestions that are made you are all ready doing in your classroom? I felt this way as I read the last three chapters. There were quotes and ideas that reinforced what I need to focus on for the upcoming school year.
I was reminded that "Learning is fundamentally social." That is important for me to remember as the year gets crazy and faster paced. The time clock is ticking and I feel like I just need to keep teaching. As I have OLW (reflected) on my class this past year, I believe I did not foster the social development as well in past years. I had to teach lessons in smaller groups which I believe hurt my whole group community, and I do believe it effected my classroom. I want to be more aware of that when school starts in the fall. Already I am considering how to set up my room for of a community area -- one that fits everyone on the floor around the smartboard/chart so we can develop and continue to build a community feeling.
Another quote that caught my attention was "the depth of engagement." When I looked up these two words in the dictionary, I found that depth is defined as complexity or obscurity, as of a subject. Engagement is defined as a pledge, obligation or agreement. As I think about these terms in relationship to my class, I know that I need to do a better job in the complexity of the questions and pledge to focus on higher level thinking in all subject areas.
Another quote that was a positive reminder was "making thinking more visible." That automatically created a light bulb moment with me from last year, when I spent the summer reading Making Learning Whole in addition I am reading Making Thinking Visible this summer. Both of these books really helped me think differently about how to structure learning as a whole in addition to share thinking aloud. "When children are thinking together, they generate strategies, and the strategies become available for others to use." In my career, typically the students strategies are the ones that make the most sense to other students. They are able to explain as well as teach their friends coming full circle making learning whole. Finally in Chapter 9, point #3 hit home: We have to take seriously the fact that the adult is not the only teacher in the room. I believe that however, it is an excellent reminder as I begin to think about plans for next school year.
Thanks to Laura at Our Camp Read-A-Lot for hosting the final week of #cyberPD. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write comments. I have to admit I felt like a child in a candy store when I opened up my blog and saw that I had 5 comments in one day. On the flip side of the coin, I learned so much from reading other blog posts, and I would stop and wonder how did I miss that key point? What a wonderful learning experience!