Thursday, June 25, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate: Chapter 4


This afternoon I am linking up with The Primary Gal for chapter 4 of Learn Like a Pirate.
I love the focus of this chapter: improvement focus vs. grade focus. My teaching partner and I have been trying to move away from the heavy focus on grades. We teach first grade and it is hard to see our kiddos getting letter grades and OSN's. We would love to send something different home to parents (more skills based) since we know that something has to go home. We just haven't quite figured out what that is yet. Hopefully we will be able to come up with something that we can get approved so that we can eliminate extrinsic forces like those Solarz states below.
I work in an affluent area so I hear students talk about rewards or punishments that they receive based on their grades. For starters, I still can't believe that I hear it from my little firsties. They should not be paying attention at all to their grades. They should only be focused on learning and having fun. When a reward or a consequence is applied to their grades then they are only working hard to receive the reward or avoid the consequence. I want them to work hard because they want to learn and because they are having fun learning.
To ensure that our students are learning we need to be present. We need to make sure that we are walking around listening and observing so that we know what our students are thinking. It enables us to give them the feedback they need to understand better and make their learning more effective. This is so important no matter what grade level we teach. Being present will also help us guide students through conflicts or observe as they use a strategy that we have taught them to solve a conflict. Either way observation, being present, is important for us as teachers. 

These were my two most prominent thoughts from this chapter. Solarz also discussed a really fabulous idea called ePortfolios, but unfortunately I don't see that as being something my little firsties could handle at their age. I think its a brilliant idea for older grades though. Having students write their assignments and reflections on a blog so that peers, teachers, etc. can read it is fabulous. Although as I watch my one year old figure out how to unlock my iPhone and play music (who would have thought) I can't help but wonder if sometime in the future my firsties will be doing something like an ePortfolio. Either way coming up with some form of reflection for my class will be something I look into for this next year. I like how it gets them to think more about what they are learning. 

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. Have a wonderful evening!


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