Will Lion’s photo along with Andrew Sullivan’s quote makes blogging look edgy and exciting! When I reread my blogs, they seem cautious, sometimes interesting or thoughtful, but not really exciting. Maybe I need to put a little X-games into my blogging!
As I read over my previous posts and remember where I was on this journey to becoming a teacher when I wrote certain posts, I am excited to realize I have grown as a teacher along the way. However, I am not so sure I have grown as a blogger – some weeks I definitely have something to write about; others I am seeking inspiration from others. Some weeks, I have a few comments on my blog; others I have none. The most I have ever had are four about a blog on revealing oneself personally in a lesson to help students, not only connect with literature in this case, but to hopefully not be afraid to open up in their class work. As I become better at tagging my blogs, I may attract more readers and comments. In the meantime, the process of reflecting on my week as a teacher and / or thinking about what others are thinking about does help me process what I am learning and hunger for more.
I will say, I love reading others’ blogs. It’s great to get a peek into the thinking of others who are also thinking about educating children. A couple of comments I have made on others’ posts that I think contributed to their or their readers’ learning are ones about specifically incorporating social lessons into academic lesson plans when appropriate and a comment I made about how the teaching profession works with all different types of teachers because there all different types of students.
This student blogger and teacher will keep on practicing and in no time will be able to take the “student” out of that title!
This past Friday I experienced the “Marketplace” in my son’s second grade classroom. Students had been preparing their wares to sell for weeks prior, and they also had learned a considerable amount of new vocabulary such as consumer, price-point, target audience, and return policy. Equally important was how they earned their own money to spend (or not) on other’s goods in the “Marketplace.” This money, called Hero Bucks, was earned by doing their classroom jobs without being reminded and by being an extraordinary citizen. Students could also be “fined” if they were not demonstrating good citizenship. The Hero bucks system is working to maintain a positive class environment and reflects the community in which the students live, which is a social studies theme for the year. It was evident in the class discussion afterwards that the students had learned a lot about pricing and marketing from their first “Marketplace” experience, and it will be interesting to see what changes they make for the next sale date right before the holidays.
The Hero Bucks and “Marketplace” system was something this new to second grade teacher had been doing for years with her fifth grade students. She and other teachers thought this system would be too complicated and sophisticated for second graders. However, the classroom management system the second grade team had been using, the “flip your card” / “go for the green,” system had the students walking on egg shells, did not really have a positive reinforcement aspect to it, and was giving the teacher nightmares about her students feeling humiliated. (She seriously told us that she was having these nightmares). She reflected on alternative systems, thought about her group of students, and decided to try her old system. To her delight, the system is working even better with the second graders than it did with her fifth graders so far. She is finding many links between their learning goals regarding community, and she has been introducing them to more advanced math concepts such as averaging (how much money the average classmate had to spend at the market place) in order to decide price points for the students’ wares. (They are not expected to perform this more advanced math independently, but they do it together as a class). This is a great example of a teacher raising expectations for her students, reflecting on what is successful and not in her class, and packing learning into every nook and cranny of a very engaging activity. My son is so excited by it all that he came home on Friday and immediately started making ornaments to sell at the next Marketplace even though it is five weeks away.