Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Work For You

First Day of School

Dear Student,

Did you realize that you have a paid consultant to help you learn.  That's true, and that consultant is me.  Your parents and the community pay taxes, and then a fraction of those taxes support my salary so that I can teach you.

So, how can I help you best?

First, How can I set up the learning environment (classroom) so that you're comfortable, alert and able to learn happily and successfully?  What kinds of tables, chairs, desks, displays and supplies do you need to learn?

Next, what about the schedule?  What should be on the schedule and how much time should be devoted to recess, reading, technology projects, collaborative work, writing, math and more?

After that, what are the best ways to teach you the essential skills of reading, writing, math and scientific/social studies knowledge and practice.  I've read a lot about that, and will be sharing my research with you.  Bottom line, the more you practice with effective strategies, the more you'll learn.  I'll introduce you to many, many learning strategies and give you lots of time to practice with friends and by yourself? But, what about you, what strategies have helped you learn in the past, and what strategies have been unsuccessful.  The more I understand you as a learner, the better I'll be able to teach you.

And, are there obstacles in your learning path--boulders and rocks that have prevented learning in the past?  I want to know about those, so we can work together to streamline your path to learning.  What makes learning difficult for you?  Tell me about some of your toughest learning moments.  Learning is not always easy, and sometimes it involves difficult practice and hard work, but there are ways we can work together to make that work more meaningful and approachable.

Finally, what advice do you have for me as your teacher and coach.  I want to do a good job this year.  I want our Team 15 to be a successful team of happy, healthy, creative and thoughtful learners.  I want us all to bridge the gap between our learning goals and success, and I want us all to experience the action of life long learning, goal after goal, practice and practice, and working together to make meaning and learn.

Today, I'd like you to write me a letter that answers the questions above.  Tell me what I can do to help you learn this year.  Write your letter online or off.  Add images if you'd like (perhaps you would like to draw a picture of the ideal classroom), and write with whatever pen or pencil you prefer.  Take your time.  Thanks in advance for helping me teach you well.

With gratitude.
Your teacher,
Ms. Devlin

Note: I recently read about the value of prompts and templates, hence here is a template to guide students' letter writing.