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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

PD-- Structure

I was asked by our support staff last year to lead a professional development workshop on how to make my room a place that allows all learners to succeed.  I asked my students these two questions and prepared my professional development seminar based on their responses.

1.     How do teachers structure their classroom to make it safer for students to share?
a.     Expectations—what is acceptable and not.  What are the non-negotiables?
b.     Make the connections to the our lives about the topics
c.     Teachers need to share
d.     Discussions—“what did you take away from this?”
e.     When reading a novel, not so much about the story, but instead the connection with the story
f.      Desk setup—conducive to the class activity, be sure to see everyone in the room
g.     No laughing, no ridiculing, no personal attacks, no option to not do or act a certain way
h.     Don’t be strict
i.      Question of the day?
j.      Teacher’s job is to defend when it becomes a personal attack
k.     Objectiveness of the teachers, but tell us what you think
l.      Wait time—silence!
m.   Act like a student, but be a teacher
n.     Share opinions
o.     Show that you are not perfect
p.     Relationships—be on our level
q.     Just talking with discussions—we do not need formal structure all the time
r.      … but structure it to start the year, then have less structure
s.      Teachers explain who/what they are make boundaries clear
t.      Students direct the instruction
u.     Have open-ended projects, assignments, but not too open-ended
v.     Know when someone is “not themselves” and care about it
w.    What’s on the walls 
2.     How do teachers reduce stress levels for students and help to alleviate anxiety?
a.     Work with teachers on homework, help us see what you see and why you see it
b.     Work into schedules, set up time to sit down with each student
c.     Go over the “hard parts”
d.     Structure—give us deadlines that some of us need, but do not give some of us deadlines-- individualize
e.     Personal assignments
f.      Big assignments—give us time
g.     Tell us the homework for the week!
h.     Assignments on blog
i.      Make sure we know when you are kidding

Just reminds me of how important it is to keep our students in mind.

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