Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Learning Frameworks: Readiness for Rich Learning

As I dig into the details of specific learning opportunities for students, I am aware that it is essential that I establish positive classroom routines so that students are able to dig into these learning opportunities with creativity, collaboration, investigation, and meaningful result.

Setting the stage for rich learning is essential.

How will I do that?

Room set up
Soon I will go into school and set up the classroom. It is essential that every child has both personal and collective spaces for learning in the classroom. Our room will include the following spaces:

Student Drawers
Every student will have a draw for their personal learning items. The drawers will be marked with student numbers.

Student Hook & Rack
Each student will have a hook and rack for their belongings and bags. The hooks and racks will be marked with student numbers.

Team Tables & Supplies
At the start of the year, each child will be assigned to a team, and that team will have a table. On that table will be a collection of shared learning supplies. Student names will be listed on a sign on each table.

Math Space
This area will be the place where most math supplies are stored.

Science Spaces
Area for most science supplies

Reading Nook & Play space
A space with comfy chairs, book baskets, a toy basket, rug, and other creative  materials. There will be three conference spaces set up in the classroom--one for myself, one for the teaching assistant, and one for specialists/interventionists that work in the classroom.

Presentation Space
A space for student/teacher presentations with a white board and related presentation materials/tools.

Recess Basket
A place for recess toys.

Outdoor Learning Space
An area on the playground with a picnic table and plastic Adirondack chairs.

Essential Classroom Routines

Reading Workshop
Students will practice related routines at the start of the year including how to choose/return books, choosing best reading spaces, using quiet voices/silent voices, asking for help, and meeting with the teacher. At the start of the year, we'll spend considerable time practicing how to successfully make time and space for everyone to happily read.

Math Study Routines
Students will also practice the math study routine which will include the following events:

  • 5-10 minute prep: read the prep list, get your supplies, complete intro activity
  • 5-10 minute introduction
  • 30 minute exploration
  • 10-15  minute closing/share and clean-up
We will practice this routine for several days in a row until it is solid. I've never been a teacher that has stuck to a similar routine often, but I'm realizing that it's much easier for us to deepen the learning and teaching when students are used to a same routine--the kind of routine that makes everyone feel comfortable and allows them to reach, risk and collaborate more and better for deeper learning.

Science Study Routine
Similar to math, I want to establish a steady routine so we can deepen the learning. The routine will be similar to math:
  • 5-10  minutes prep/warm-up
  • 5-10 minute introduction
  • 30 minute exploration
  • 10-15 minute share/clean-up
Again, like math, we'll practice this same routine often so students remember and follow the routine well. 

Start-of-Day Routine
  1. Hang up coats, bags
  2. Read morning message and schedule
  3. Follow morning message instructions and see the teacher if you have any pressing questions, notices, or materials.
As I read the book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, I've been thinking about how to take students from dependence to independence. I know that one way to do this is to establish positive routines and a good classroom set up.