Friday, June 26, 2015
Does Your Classroom Show What You Value?
This is a series of blog posts I hope to write over the summer to reflect on my first year as a 6th grade middle school language arts teacher. Teaching is hard. Reflecting on teaching is even harder. Reflecting points out my mistakes and flaws, but encourages change; it highlights my successes, yet motivates me to become better.
Does your classroom show what you value?
Last winter my principal came into my classroom with a consultant for our middle and high schools. When my principal introduced us, he said, "Can you tell she likes books?"
He could not have paid me a higher compliment. I want people to enter my classroom and immediately know what I value. But what else does my classroom say about me?
I value books and reading. I have a rather large classroom library, and I display books everywhere. I share my own reading life with my students by displaying books I have read and what I am currently reading on our classroom door. Reading is who I am.
I value talk and collaboration. I have my desks in pods or groups, not in rows. I use turn and talk many times throughout my lessons and class discussions, and I think arranging my room this way invites talk. This is important to me.
I value visible student thinking. I use anchor charts, not store-bought educational charts, to build a literacy culture. I use anchor charts to record the content and strategies I am teaching and the processes of student thinking. Anchor charts keep current learning accessible to students and provide an anchor for new learning. Because anchor charts are created by students, they have more ownership in their learning. My anchor charts are my classroom wallpaper.
As I start to set up my classroom for next year, I want to look at it with new eyes. I want to see if my classroom really shows what I value. If I walked in your classroom, what would I see? What do you value?