Monday, December 9, 2013

Back to Basics (focus on the kids, best practices, and the day that flowed)

Sometimes you have one of those days in the classroom where things just flow. You know what I mean, right? The class period where even if the kids come unprepared, even if things don’t all go according to plan, even if it’s not what you thought would happen, some things just work really well and you’re left with a sense of accomplishment at the end? I had that day today. It reinvigorated me. It reenergized me. It reminded me that I do know what I’m doing. It put things back in perspective for me. It gave me a sense of peace and feeling like I’m in the right place with the right people at the right time.

I was out of the classroom on Friday at a workshop on close reading put on by Chris Lehman. I also got to see Chris speak about building a culture of writing in schools on Saturday morning. I made this comment on twitter:
And it’s so true. He is one of those speakers who inspires me and reminds me what being a teacher is all about…the kids. It’s about the kids becoming their best selves. It’s about being there for them. It’s about helping them see themselves in a new light. It’s about doing what I can to give them the tools for success. It’s about engaging them so they learn. It’s about the kids. No matter what else is going on with directives, assessments, standards, paperwork, or anything else that can be a distraction…It should always come back to the kids. They are the reason I'm here.

This morning when I got into school, the first thing I did was look at the notes from my sub on Friday. There was some confusion and I knew I needed to tailor my lessons today toward what my kids needed from me to clear up the confusion. What did I go to? Formative assessment, Conferring, Feedback, Modeling, Think Alouds, Time to Write…and, no, I’m not just trying to throw educational buzz words out there, I’m talking about the instinctive things I go to that I know make a difference. And that’s the key I realized today.  I turned off all of the “noise” and just did what I know works to support kids. That’s why it seemed to flow so well…I was going back to the basics that I know are best practices and I was giving my students what they needed.

Some days we lose sight of that in the press to reach the standards and cover the curriculum and meet requests, but it should always be about the kids and what they need and how we can best provide that. I know what it is, and I need to remember that. The difference in what I saw my students come to class with compared to what they left with after assessing where they were at and where they struggled, modeling the writing and thinking aloud, conferring with them and giving feedback, and allowing them the time to write, was impressive. Back to basics…that’s where I’m headed. What about you?

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could say I was headed back to the classroom. This makes me miss being with kids.