Saturday, 4 May 2013

Reflections on my Classroom from Franklin the Turtle

Wesley loves to watch Franklin the Turtle. It is currently his favorite show and this morning he wanted to watch one of his favorite episodes Franklin Goes to School. I have seen it dozens of times but each time I watch it makes me reflect on my own classroom instruction.

In the show, the students are all afraid to go to school and meet their new teacher, perhaps he might yell at them or think they were stupid. Once the students arrive they are greeted by Mr. Owl, a friendly teacher who makes learning fun and discovery the key way to learn.

I started reflecting on my classroom and how my students view me. I learned three things about myself and my classroom during my reflections:

1. Learning = hand-on discovery = fun and engaging. A couple of weeks ago, I started only teaching 5-10 minutes of information and then allowing my students 15-20 minutes of discovery and then closing it with reflections and sharing. I am amazed at how much more information they learn and retain through this!!

2. Assessment must be done in so many ways. I have always known this, but I have been reflecting on how good I am at doing this in my classroom. Do I provide lots of different ways for students to exemplify what they have learned?

So I have to evaluate my lesson and ask if I am being fun and engaging, giving my students time for discovery, assessing my students based off of real knowledge not memorization, and assessing my students through a variety of different ways.

2. My kiddos love to chit chat. At the beginning of the year it drove me crazy. Often when I pictured "well behaved students" they were working silently at their desk. I was becoming very embarrassed by the amount of chatter that was happening in my classroom. But when I stopped to listen to their chit chat, it was about their new discoveries, and questions to ponder, and excitement over learning how things work and fit together. Then I became proud of my kids chattering. They are bouncing ideas off of one another and processing information through talking it through.

I have a lot of growing to do. I am so thankful for TPT and some of the amazing products I have been able to use by Rachelle Lynette, Yvonne Crawford, Amy Lemons, Teaching with a Mountain View  Science Penguin, The Teacher Wife, and more. These are the people that teach and motivate me to be a better teacher :)

I would love to hear from you: what have you found to be the best way to assess your students?

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