Welcome to the first day of the book study! Today we will be chatting about chapters of 1 and 2 of Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller.
Chapters 1 & 2
“I’m convinced that success in the classroom depends less on which beliefs we hold and more on simply having a set of beliefs that guides us in our day-to-day work with children. Once we know who we are and what we believe in the classroom, we become intentional in our teaching, we do what we do on purpose, with good reason. Intentional teachers are thoughtful, reflective people who are conscious of the decisions they make and the actions they take, they live and teach by the principles and practices they believe in and value. ” ~ Debbie Miller, page 4
So why read this book? Why do this book study? I’ve been teaching for 10 years now and I have systems and routines that work for me. When I really thought about my classroom philosophy, I realized I wrote that paper in grad school and my interview response is riddled with buzzwords. I had not actually sat down and written down my current beliefs and values.
“We’re professionals, we need to make full use of our professional autonomy.” In other words, by studying what the research says and pin-pointing our values and forming opinions about what we believe as teachers, we can engage in academic conversations with colleagues and administration. Many times, we have to prove that we know what we are talking about in order to be taken seriously.
My state adopted a basal reading series program that all schools have to purchase and implement by school year 2015/2016. It’s scripted. We all know that the best teaching does not come from the script. Teaching straight from the basal is certainly easier, but is it what all of our kids need? No. Some, yes. But all? Absolutely not. By explicitly exploring our beliefs and values as educators, we can show those in charge that we are professionals and we can be trusted to make good curricular decisions for our students.
On to the discussion questions. Make sure to download the printables above for your journal so you can take notes as you read. I’m going to answer the questions for myself and share my thinking from my journal. Please tell me your thoughts and responses in the comments!
I want someone to feel calm and invited as the walk in my room. I want it to be obvious that kids are learning and working hard. I want them to see the rigor of the work, but also the fun and creativity of the students.
I agree with all of Debbie’s beliefs about education.
- Organized, purposeful, and authentic environment – check!
- Choose your words carefully as they affect the children – check!
- Create engaging lessons – check!
- Teach workshops with a model and foster independence – check!
- Use assessment to guide your instruction – check!
- Utilize student choice – check!
- The few I would add:
- Make decisions based on what is best for children, not what is easiest for adults.
- Every child deserves an exquisite education
- What I already do:
- Use a workshop model for Daily 5, Writing, and Math
- Have an organized classroom
- Plan engaging lessons
- Create small groups in reading and math based on assessment results
- Integrate student choice whenever possible
- What I can do better:
- Research math workshop models on Pinterest and fine-tune my routines. Search and read blogs who I know teach with a math workshop model, like Reagan Tunstall.
- Add more student work and less teacher-store posters. Or replace with student-made ones after we learn the concept.
- Choose my words carefully and practice patience.
- Integrate tech for more student engagement and motivation.
- Create a better system for recording formative assessment and teacher observations. Create a conferring notebook and actually use it.