Monday, January 17, 2011

Teaching with Intention - Reflection #4

Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller is the focus for this year and the Literacy Connection group here in Central Ohio.  My fourth reflection comes in response to reading Chapter 4, Creating Classroom Cultures That Support and Promote Student Thinking.  I think this chapter gets to the heart of what makes Debbie Miller, Debbie Miller.  The explicit modeling in her oral language and word choice she uses with children to help them be explicit and articulate in their thinking.  Debbie reminds us how important our own writing and sharing is to help our students grow.  She writes a poem about a local shaved ice stand, shares it with the class she is visiting with, and a student turns around his questioning response with more thought and insight through poetry.  This reminded me the importance of modeling and being writers ourselves.  It also reminded me that knowledge and learning can be expressed in different formats.  This is something that seemed natural earlier in my career and I've got to find that in my "groove" again to help keep my own passion and help my students.  I think this quote is something worth spending time with.

"Children seem to breathe in,"I/We can do this" and breathe out, "Here's how."  They seem themselves and each other as kids with purpose; they see themselves as the kind of kids who can figure things out. These children sense that they have the capacity to roll up their sleeves, take action, and get things done.  And wouldn't you know - the teacher sees herself, and them this way too?  We see it in their faces.  We witness it in their actions, their work, and their words."

The middle of this chapter has a wealth of ideas for putting "our thinking on display", modeling.  As I read this section of examples for showing our curiosity and interest or how to be reflective to name a few I realized how critical this is for all ages.  However, my days are filled and need more of my thinking on display to help my kindergarten students.  Everything is so new to them in their first school experience.  Debbie knows the reality of a classroom.  She shares with us language to use in response to the typical things teachers encounter in the classroom.  If you need help in any of these areas this chapter is a must read for you.

- a child says something in response to a statement or question and we're not sure where they're headed.
-a child has quite a bit to say, but we're not really sure what she's talking about.
-a child says something a bit bizarre (to us) that we wonder if they have been listening at all.
-a child needs to expand and broaden their thinking and to value different thoughts from their own.
-a child struggles to figure something out.
-a child figures something that and we need to show them we value the mental process.

The biggest tool Debbie uses to make thinking visible, public, and permanent is a notebook to record "something that seem particularly insightful or poignant, I want to capture their words exactly as they said them.  And put them up for all to see.  A note book is perfect for that."  She feels a  notebook is less obtrusive.  I've had a notebook made for this and tried to use one last year to help remember all the great things my students say as they come every other day.  I think I just found an action I need to implement Wednesday after my teacher work day tomorrow.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.

1 comment:

  1. Mandy~
    I wait to read your blog until I write my response to the chapter. This helps me to reflect on my own thoughts. So I was surprised when I opened your blog to find we were caught by similar thoughts in this chapter. This chapter reminded me of the importance of my life as a writer and sharing this with my writers.
    While I am enjoying blogging I was surprised how difficult it has been for me. Putting my thoughts out in cyberspace has really been a daunting task. A task I will continue as I know it makes be a better person and teacher. I have come to realize how difficult it is to organize my thoughts and communicate them in a way that readers can connect and understand. I also worry what Debbie would say if she were reading, I wonder if I am really hearing her message.