It is Halloween and I am in Keephills School today (GREAT school to be in for Halloween). The kids are changing into costumes right now and it gives me the opportunity to read the lastest Blogs and reflect on the second month of school.
I have been and out of many classrooms and collaborated with many teachers this month. What has really become apparent to me is that teachers are starting to realize that the strength of their teaching practice is only as good as their least engaged, least motivated and least successful student. More and more, teachers are taking a hard look at the LEARNING in their classrooms and asking themselves what could/should they be doing to make sure all of the students in their class have a chance to engage in learning a meaningful way.
Marsie is right; students being engaged in what is happening in their classrooms is a KEY component to everything that we want for them. I am working with a school right now that is really looking at engagement, what does it look like (three teachers and I sat together and came up with a “checklist” of student and teacher behaviours we would expect to see in a class where the students are engaged.) We are watching these kids in their classrooms as they learn, collecting the data on engagement, and realizing through this data that we want a much bigger % of students engaged all the time, and that we can do more to make this happen. We have asked ourselves what can be done to improve engagement, and come up with strategies like using the Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures, and having the students co-develop criteria and self -assess, ability grouping in multi-aged classrooms—-I like the idea of getting the students involved in these changes; being honest with them about we are trying to do and asking for their feedback as we try new things. What a great idea, Marsie!
Time for the costume parade!