My students were writing blog posts about our trip to Frawley Stadium. They were inserting pics from a Google Folder. This was a new concept, so I taught one or two of them. Teach two, they teach the rest.
I could see one of my students struggling at the back table. Although I was standing right beside her, she didn't say a word to me, did not bother to ask for help. She stood up, walked over to the desktop computers, and asked a student I had previously taught for help. That student walked over, and proceeded to guide her through the process. Listening to the way this student patiently explained it to the struggling student made me proud.:) Why? I was not part of the equation. They did not need me.
How many of us can let go of control in our classrooms?
How many of us can allow students to ignore us, and turn to their classmates?
How many of us can do this? Especially those of us who have believed that discipline and classroom management comes from rows in single file, and no talking?
That's the tradition I come from, but I relinquished that power a while ago.
Is my room a perfect slice of heaven? By no means! I have the same issues other classrooms may have. Disrespectful students, bickering, tattling, bullying, and/or students who don't want to work, but it doesn't happen often. I have 20 students this year, but it has worked with 27. I have students of all races, and they are not all "gifted." So, there's no, "Oh now I see how you do it!" here.
Here's how I managed:
- strong, classroom management (There has to be structure)
- build a sense of community (I use Responsive Classroom)
- allow students to move without permission
- get rid of rows (My students decided how they wanted the desks)
- let students be part of the decision-making process (That was difficult for me)
- let go of direct instruction every minute of the day
- upped engagement in the classroom (integrating tech in my classroom has enhanced my lessons, not replaced them)
photo credit: Boston Public Library via photopin cc