Monday, February 7, 2011

Careful, Your Kids Are Learning!

I am currently working with a group of educators in central Ohio and the Literacy Connection. Our focus this year is Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller. This post is in response to chapter 4, Creating Classroom Cultures That 
Support and Promote Student Thinking'
How we conduct ourselves in the classroom is important Debbie says, "Our kids are watching us all the time."   It is obvious in any classroom children develop their views on thinking and learning by watching us. They watch how we display our thinking, show curiosity, listen and learn from others, and reflect and question our new learning.
I like to think I am a reflective teacher and that I display my thinking openly to my class. I carry a notebook to record comments and interesting things in our day, all our charts are created together as a class and display the language of the kids, I strive capture moments on my digital camera or flip video. Because I value these moments, I take time in the evening to read the comments and use this information for planning. I talk openly with my kids about my thinking, I share my processes for seeking new information and I question new learning on an ongoing basis. I believe I am sending the message I value learning and your thinking, learning is never done and learning is more valuable when shared.

Because I believe I am reflective and open in my thinking I was surprised last week when one of my students asked me "Mrs. Frazier do ever even write?" I really had to stop and think, do I write? I write here in my blog, I write lesson plans, I write reflections on our day, I write to parents, and I write curriculum. But I really had to ask myself do I write? Is what I write valuable to the kids in my class? How can I display this writing to my kids?  As I read this chapter Nicholas’ question kept creeping into my mind. I realized how important it is to share not only my thinking but also my life as writer and a reader. To share this with Nicholas and my class I need to be more present in my life as a writer and reader.
Debbie also talks about being present in the moment. This is often a challenge in a first grade classroom, with so many agendas.  I often feel rushed; there just isn't enough time in our day. In chapter 1 Debbie described the classroom she was visiting as, "No one is looking at the clock: there's not a hint of rush.” Doesn't that sound so refreshing? "Not a hint of rush." We know if  we are feeling the challenge of time our kids are feeling it too.
This chapter, and Nicholas, have left me wondering, how can I display my reading and writing to my class and how can I create a classroom where "there's simply the luscious feeling of endless time"?
How do you display your writing and reading life to your class? How do you manage the many agendas of a classroom so all feel the luxury of endless time? I would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Deb, I appreciate your thoughts and comments as we work through this book. I too find it hard to blog these reflections. It's putting more of my own thoughts out there. Sharing books, I'm enjoying and finding feels safer. I also think it's smart not to read my post til yours are written. I've been more intentional this year modeling writing as a minilesson to guide my students and I see them trying things more in their own Drawing and Writing notebooks. I purposefully write about something from my daily life. I look forward to our next class session to talk in person.

  2. Mandy~
    I am looking forward to meeting you too, I so enjoy reading your post! I especially enjoy the books you share! My library card is FULL, I am working on my second card now! Check out my Shelfari shelf and VoiceThread posts you will find many of the titles you have shared. I always tell my kiddos I got the book reccomendation from a blog and they are amazed that i blog too, just like them! Funny!