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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

teach simply

I can't believe it's been so long since I logged into my blog! After blogging every day in July, and then only once in August, it feels super weird, but I'm glad I'm back!

I really should be working on this Online Blackboard course I need to complete so I can teach my very first grad school class beginning later this month. (!!!!) I'm so excited to teach the course - it's Language Arts Methods at Dominican University! The university put together a little course for the instructors to get acquainted with the online component - ours is called Canvas. I'm halfway through and locked out now since I'm waiting to have my last assignment checked. Nothing like waiting until the last minute - it's due on Thursday at 4 and I'm only halfway done!

but anyways....back to the title. I was at my sister's this weekend and she had this cute little decorative plaque thing up on her wall with all of these sayings, and one was "live simply." It was something like this:



Anyways, I got to thinking about this instead: teach simply. Obviously, there is nothing simple about teaching. In the very least, it's a constant stream of decision making and multitasking that can wipe out all your energy in just a half day. 

Rather, I mean, teach simply - don't go overboard with all the stuff that is in the teacher store. You really just don't need it.


The teacher I am today and the teacher I was from 2003-2008 are two totally different people. I was that teacher. In my first five years of teaching, my classroom looked like the teacher store. I bought the posters, the job boards, the books of worksheets, the hall passes - everything was super cutesy and none of it was the thinking of the community of learners in my room.

Then grad school came around. I learned about so many books that were amazing for kids, and so I began spending tons of money on building my library. Chapter books and graphic novels and picture books, nonfiction and poetry and biographies and text sets.

Meanwhile, I was watching, and learning from (one of my now) best friends. She didn't have any of the Ancient Egypt posters or fraction posters up in her room. Instead, she created anchor chart after anchor chart displaying her students' thinking on paper and then posted on the wall.

And then I got it.

You don't need to buy all that stuff at the teacher store. You don't need books of worksheets and test prep manuals and all the extras that companies like Pearson want you to buy.

What do you need?

Books. Lots of them.
Composition notebooks.
Chart paper and good markers.
Post-its.

If I had a classroom today, you wouldn't see any of that stuff above. You'd just see my kids surrounded by great literature, reading their books next to open notebooks with a pen in their hand. When they were confused, you'd see them reference the thinking of our class that was plastered on all the walls around the room.
What story do the walls of your classroom tell about the learning that is/will be happening there?

2 comments:

  1. Love this! Thanks for more inspiration. Good luck in teaching your class later!!
    Alyce

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with this completely! This is why I think Pinterest is very dangerous and have intentionally stayed away most of the summer so I can avoid feeling pressured to do these types of things. Pretty doesn't mean meaningful.

    ReplyDelete

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