So, this morning I spent an hour in a kindergarten classroom in my neighborhood. I loved being there SO much that I kinda wanted to come back again next week....and the next week....and the next week. My kids are not in kindergarten (yet) and I knew NONE of the kids in the classroom, but was completely engaged and energized by my experience. As I sat there leading a "literacy group" and practicing "ch," "sh," and "th" sounds, I thought of my daughter being where these students are one year from now, and I became a bit overwhelmed. All at once I realized just how much she would learn in the next year, and I also realized how important the learning environment is for the kids sitting in that classroom. More than likely most of these kids have spent the last 5 years of their lives at home with a parent, or in a classroom or day care setting where there were maybe 8 or 9 other kids in their class. Yet sitting there, in this kindergarten class of 25, It seemed like every child felt loved and cared for in their environment. They were attentive, excited to learn, and engaged. They were perfectly content practicing "ch," "sh," and "th" sounds.
As a teacher who has spent the last 13 years in a secondary school, I wondered where it is, in the process of school, that this excitement gets lost?
So, now I am sitting in a coffee shop, where I am supposed to be working on my dissertation, thinking about this whole idea of keeping kids engaged and excited about school. I can across this article/blog on edutopia today. What are your thoughts about how the environment can ignite learning and cultivate caring. I realize the setting is in an elementary school, but as a former high school teacher, I absolutely can see some carry-over into a middle and high school classroom.
I also encourage you to try to finish this statement:
"My classroom is like a....."
Consider the roles that your students play in your classroom, in addition to considering the role you play in creating that certain environment in your classroom.