Jumping on the Bandwagon...or Pirate Ship

In an effort to get back into blogging regularly, I am excited to share that I am joining Amanda, The Primary Gal in her Learn Like a Pirate book study! 

In Chapter 1: What is a Student-Led Classroom? Paul describes forward-thinking teachers as teachers who "want to encourage students to take on more responsibility and ownership over their learning." That's ME! I mean - I want this for my students, but I have yet to accomplish this fully. 

In reading, I use a merged Guided Reading/Readers' Workshop model and I started Guided Math this year. In reflecting on these times, as well as writing and social studies, I find myself thinking that my students do a lot of small group, collaborative work, but I feel like they do not have complete ownership or responsibility over this work. 

Paul mentions that student-led classrooms are classrooms where students are making decisions throughout the day without consulting the teacher, although they understand that the teacher does have the ultimate say. This does NOT typically happen in my classroom. In fact, it freaks me out just a little A LOT because I am a self-proclaimed CoNtRoL fReAk!! 

I am so excited to continue reading Learn Like a Pirate, especially because Paul also describes student-led classrooms as having teacher-led instruction, through mini-lessons, in the middle of the lesson. Again, I stopped to reflect. I mean, I begin my lessons with a turn-and-talk about a question, or a quick initiating activity, but the "beginning" of my lesson is typically teacher-led. 

Paul does not make it sound like this is just a wave-your-magic-wand classroom management strategy, he makes it perfectly clear that, as with just about anything, these skills need be modeled and practiced on a daily basis in order for them to become habits. 

At the end of the chapter, Paul suggests that you begin building relationships with students before they even enter your classroom. We often talk at school about walking by students in the hallway in the morning and saying "hello" to them, only to receive silence in return. I will keep trying, keep saying my "hello" and "good morning" and compliments in the hallway! 

Like what you've read? You'll love this book! The first chapter is quick and easy, you have can catch up in no time! Click on over to The Primary Gal and link-up with the book study. I love reading everyone else's thoughts on this book! 

Happy Reading! 


Paul Solarz said...

I really enjoyed reading your post Tara! It seems as though many of us (teachers) are self-proclaimed (or closet) control-freaks! And I include myself in that group too! The funny thing is, the more control I give my students, the more I feel in control. Now that may sound strange, but the reality is that when you have 25 students with all the power, everything seems to get done when you want it and how you want it, the only change is that you aren't doing everything!!! Since fewer "balls get dropped," I feel so much more in control than when I did everything and could never keep up! I absolutely LOVE my student-led classroom!!! I look forward to your future posts! :)

Amanda Wilp said...

Thanks for linking up! Our classrooms sound very similar. I do a lot of small group work during Guided Math but that is still indirectly led by me! My goal this summer is to figure out how to change that to a more student-led model!! :)

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