Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday- Teaching with Intention

Summer, summer, summer.... I do a LOT of reading over the summer.  I've mentioned before that it's not all high quality literature or appropriate for a professional blog.... just sayin' choice and interest are a big part of being a great reader :)

This week's PD choice is:

Teaching with Intention
You can preview it for free at Stenhouse.
You may have noticed that last time was a Debbie Miller book, too.  I just love her!  I went back to reread this book because things change as we develop in our practice and I wanted to read it from a new perspective... three more years of experience and as a first grade teacher.
First and foremost, think about the title.  Being "intentional" with our instruction should be our focus in order to meet our students' many and varied needs in and out of the classroom.  In the first few chapters, Debbie writes about defining your beliefs about education.  Literally.  Like, get out the pen and start writing it down.  Haven't we all heard that goals that are written down are better achieved?  We need to critically look at every moment in our day, as well as the environment that we have created (intentional AND unintentional).
The book takes us through her beliefs and how she has aligned her practices to match (each gets its own chapter). 
  • Classroom environments are most effective when they are literate and purposeful, organized and accessible, and, most of all, authentic.
  • We cannot underestimate the power of our influence- what we chose to say and do in the classroom profoundly affects the ways children view their teacher, themselves, and each other.
  • Learning is maximized when the lessons I design are purposeful, engaging, with real world applications.
  • The gradual release of responsibility instructional model, integrated into a workshop format, best guides children toward understanding and independence.
  • Formative, ongoing assessment enlightens and informs day-to-day work with children.
  • A workshop format based on the elements of time, choice, response, and community fosters active, responsive teaching and learning.  (Miller, 17)
I found myself agreeing with my old notes and highlights, as well as highlighting more and responding in slightly different ways.  I know it seems strange, but I encourage you to write in your professional books and highlight in different colors each time you read.  It's such a cool visual representation of your growth and learning.

P.S.  I have exciting news which has kept me away from the blog world for the last two weeks.... we are moving!  We sold and bought a new house all in that time.  Yes- TWO WEEKS.  For the last 5 years, I have been commuting 36 miles each way to work.  In some parts of the country, it wouldn't be so bad.  in the Metro-Detroit area... BRUTAL.  There were some days in the winter that it would take me over an hour and a half to get home.  Now, it will only take me about 15 minutes!  This gives me back what is important- time with my family :)  We are set to move the first week of school.  Nice timing, eh?

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