Back to School and Back to Blogging

In the words of The Cars, “Hello, hello again.”

I hope you had a good Summer of 2016. I did. Even though I wrote in my last post that I planned to post here during the summer, it turns out that this didn’t happen.

Turns out that during the summer I wasn’t in a writing mode, but more of a reading mood. You see I really enjoy reading novels, but unfortunately doing this is often one of my lowest priorities during the school year. So I caught up with a vengeance by reading, Lovecraft Country, Underground Airlines, Before the Fall, The Selloutand a couple of David Baldacci books as well (because I heard him speak at the Columbus Library  in June.)

Full classes begin for us on Wednesday, so I’m in full back to school mode and thinking about how and what I’m going to teach this school year. I don’t have a list of new back to school ideas. Instead, please see what I posted this time last year by clicking here, here, here, here and also here. Also, I encourage you to check out what Jared has to share over at his The Religion Teacher site.

So, I’ll wrap this reintroduction up by inviting you to check out the Sunday lectionary gospel which I’ll post before each school week. And I have a new week-daily feature which I’ll be introducing very soon.

May Christ bless you during this school year of 2016-2017!

8 Components of a Reflective Classroom

I think I put the finishing touches on my classroom walls today (unless any more of the student artwork falls down because of the heat in there?!?).  I do need to continue to focus on the spiritual environment which I’ll create within what I think is an attractive physical space.

I like what the blogger at Facing Today at the Facing History site defines as a “reflective classroom community” and how he describes the value of creating this environment in your classroom:

In a reflective classroom community, students work together in an engaging study of our past, and of our world today. Knowledge is constructed, not passively absorbed. And students, with both hearts and minds mobilized, are seen as subjects actively engaged in a community of learners. A trusting classroom atmosphere like this creates the space for deep, democratic learning. The creation of an environment like this requires a thoughtful approach.

For your consideration, for your own classroom, here’s the list:

  1. Mutual respect
  2. Intentional use of space
  3. A culture of questioning
  4. Thoughtful silence
  5. Student-to-Student discussions
  6. Connecting content to students’ lives to history and to the world today
  7. Allowing for a variety of ways for students to express and enrich their learning
  8. Creating space for diverse viewpoints

How do you do in creating a reflective classroom?