Saturday, April 6, 2013

Leaving My Comfort Zone

Happy weekend everybody! 

This year I have been trying really hard to help my students develop more responsibility and accountability for their learning.  Early in the year, I began researching problem based learning strategies and tried to incorporate them in some of my projects.  While this required much more planning, and sometimes "thinking" on my part, I felt it was well worth the effort. 

When I think about the classrooms I had when I was growing up, I remember the teacher standing at the front of the room doing 95% of the talking and completing 95% of my daily work on a worksheet or workbook.  When I became a teacher five years ago, I thought that was the only way to teach.  It was a huge shock to me to see that there was a different way -- a better way -- to teach.  I have wrestled with finding this better way and am beginning to feel like I am getting there.

As a teacher, my goal is to inspire my students to become lifelong learners.  I feel that this cannot be accomplished by me being the "sage on the stage" and telling my kids exactly what they need to know.  I want them to learn how to discover, how to wonder, how to ask questions, how to search out answers, how to take their learning farther.  I want to be their supporter, their advisor, their mentor, and their cheerleader.  Perhaps this is why I have embraced math workshop and writers workshop so much -- because it puts the kids in control and makes them more responsible for their learning.

I understand that giving up this control can be very scary.  It's easy to say that it is just too much work or would take too much time.  I get that.  However, I have seen firsthand that when I put my students in charge of their learning, AMAZING things happen.  Behavior issues virtually disappear because every student is engaged.  There is a feeling of electricity in the air when students are working because they see the value in what they are doing.

Today I came across an AMAZING blog that inspired me to write this post.  I hope you will head over to Venspired to get some inspiration of your own.  Here is a little something of hers that should get you thinking...

What are your thoughts?


  1. What a thoughtful and heartfelt post! You are exactly right. When we were in school, it was all sit and get, fill out that worksheet, read that textbook, and do more worksheets. Today, teaching and learning looks nothing like that. I actually went into teaching BECAUSE I couldn't learn that way and I spent a lot of time daydreaming and missing the instruction because I was so bored, and I wanted to be a teacher that didn't do that.

    I love that poster! Great food for thought! (even if I get very uncomfortable when my kids ask me questions that I don't know the answer to!) ;O)

    Thanks for stopping by our blog! Now we were able to find you! We throw a linky on Sundays if you want to join in so other bloggers can find you! You can check this post Mentor Text Linky
    for information. The post will go live at 8:00 AM EST tomorrow morning, but you can link up all week (of course you'll be more likely to get blog traffic if you link up sooner than later). :O) We'd love for you to link up! And if you can't this week, maybe another time!

    Collaboration Cuties

  2. This is such a wonderful post. It is so easy to fall back on things that make teaching easier for us and that takes less time to prepare. I know in the end a student centered teaching/learning approach DOES make teaching easier and more exciting for the kiddos AND us. I am blessed to have gone through an Elementary Ed program that focused on this and now teach in a school district that encourages this.

    We recently did a very hands-on lesson with adjectives. I would love for you to come and check it out.

    I am also happy to be your newest follower. =)

    Heather's Heart

  3. I agree with you. However, it's not encouraged in my school. We are a worksheet/workbook/silent classroom driven school at this time. Hoping that changes in the near future because right now I'm the duck out of water! :)

    I Run Read Teach


Thank you for taking the time for stopping by! I would love it if you would leave me a comment to let me know that you were here. (Please make sure that you are not a "No Reply Blogger" so that I can email you back.)