Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Paradigm Shift....

I want to share with you the paradigm shift that I have been working on for the past three years.  You see, I am still a classroom teacher.  And as a classroom teacher, I have noticed that focusing solely on math and reading was boring the kids to death! I looked out at my room a few years ago to faces that were unmotivated, bored, and simply uncaring about what was happening in the classroom. We had a two hour reading block - where kids were pulled in every direction for intervention and reteaching. It was a mess.

So, with some guidance and research in my pocket, I decided to redesign the schedule of the day.
  • First, I switched the times things were taught.  We now started the day with science.  The kids had something to look forward to...engaging lessons and active exploration. 
  • Next, we cut the 2 hour reading block to 1 hour.  Why? Well, we decided to purposefully integrate science and social studies with reading and language skills.  We infused cause and effect, sequencing, problem/solution, compare and contrast, and more into our content area. (More about this approach to come this summer.) Our reading block was now set aside for a mini-lesson, silent reading and guided reading groups. If intervention groups were to happen, we had them in our classrooms with a reading support teacher. 
  •  Finally, we integrated math skills such as measurement and graphing into science. We made these concepts meaningful and hands-on with a purpose.
What were the results? First and foremost...happier kids.  I had students who would have been reticent now actively participating in lessons, conversations and discussions.  These students learned new vocabulary in a meaningful way, and they were eager to come to school and get to work.  No longer did I see the sea of blank stares...

But of course data talks, right??? Let me share our scores.

You know what else happened? I was happier...because I was actually teaching things the students were interested in.  By using Science and Social Studies as our focus, we were making connections all day long.  The students took ownership in the role of researcher and practitioner. And it was really cool....

Remember why we went into teaching...before we got squashed by the rules and the testing craziness?  Its time to rebel and go back to what we know works for kids.

To watch the video click here. 

I look forward to sharing with you how we did it....planning, team work, lesson plans, philosophy, etc... Are you ready to join the Paradigm Shift????


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