Picturing my Classroom

There is a difference between having a picture in your mind of what your classroom will "look" and feel like and having a plan to produce that picture. The picture must, however, come first. If we try to generate a series of lessons without having an idea of the road that we want the students to take, the teaching will not play out as desired.

In the critical first days, we set the tone of our classrooms. We set the pacing, the expectations, the atmosphere. I seek a student-centered classroom, which is more difficult to manage than a teacher-centered one. Allowing students greater control over their learning, their movements, and their speaking immediately raises the bar for teacher moderation. There will still be some class time that is teacher-centered (lecture notes, lab directions) where students are expected to "sit down, be quiet, and listen". But there will also be questions and discussions that I hope the students will generate and become responsible for. Ensuring student respectfulness during class times that are less than quiet requires the teacher to be listening and watching on many levels.

Knowing the proportion of lecture : discussion : lab activity is my first step. With the curriculum and frameworks before me, I establish an essential question for each unit and then lay out the files that approach that essential question, looking for the variety of means for reaching my students. (I use the Grant-Wiggins Understanding by Design approach to designing lessons, but that is another post.)

Overall, I have great students who will be respectful when they understand what "respectful" looks like.
‎"To control and sort young people for the sake of institutional efficiency is to crush the human spirit." ~ Ron Miller
I gave up on control in classrooms years ago, control is illusionary. Now I strive to make chaos look real good. ~ David Marcus Title
"Chaos is really good for art, and sometimes friction causes chaos. But chaos is really the catalyst. I really think that chaos is like gas. It's like energy." ~ Neil Young
I hope I find the time to post what happens on the first day back to school, but in case I don't here is a reflection from another teacher, Michael Doyle.

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