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:
- Mutual respect
- Intentional use of space
- A culture of questioning
- Thoughtful silence
- Student-to-Student discussions
- Connecting content to students’ lives to history and to the world today
- Allowing for a variety of ways for students to express and enrich their learning
- Creating space for diverse viewpoints
How do you do in creating a reflective classroom?
Today was the first in-service for where Rachel, Tera and I teach. It was a valuable, focused session on key classroom technology that all of use. Tomorrow is our full day, full faculty in-service on The Big Picture for the year. Monday has the faculty/staff business meetings. I see my freshmen briefly on Tuesday and Wed is the first full day of school.
So, I need to get focused on the technology I plan to use in my classes this year. I’ve gathered lots of links which will help me with this. As I hope they’ll be helpful for you as well, I’ll make a number of posts today.
For the Religion teachers out there, here’s a great list courtesy of Jared Dees and his excellent The Religion Teacher blog.
10 First Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class:
- Not sharing why you became a teacher/catechist
- Teaching on the first day
- Only talking about what you will teach and how they will be graded (In other words, just sharing your syllabus)
- Explaining how a class will run (rules & procedures), but not why they are there.
- Not praying
- Ignoring what the students want out of your class
- Forgetting the students’ names
- Not smiling
- Not reaching out to parents
- Teaching your lessons without a purpose
A good list, I must say. Compare it to the other “don’t” list I posted recently and you’ll see some clear similarities.
If you’re still getting ready for 2015-2016 – Blessings on your preparation!
If you’re already rolling with students in 2015-2016 – Blessings on today and every day of this school year!