Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Teaching with Intention Book Study: Chapter 2

Thanks for stopping by to read my thoughts on Chapter 2 of "Teaching with Intention" by Debbie Miller. The book study is hosted by Mr. Greg at The Kindergarten Smorgasboard and Chapter 2 hosts are Latoya at Flying into First Grade, Amanda at The Primary Gal, and Melissa from Mrs. Dailey's Classroom.
Chapter 2 is a quick and easy read, only 5 pages! However, I think those 5 pages are some of the MOST important in the book! You know when you read a book and the author is speaking your language?! Just reaffirms absolutely everything you believe in?! Yep, this is that book for me! I haven't been this excited since "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller. These Miller gals got it going on!!
We must "make conscious decisions and take deliberate actions" to get us where we want to be. 
Debbie shares her six beliefs that guide her teaching and explains how she spent over a year developing them. It is not as easy as it sounds to research, examine, reflect, and put your beliefs into words. After she developed her beliefs, the next step was to align them with her classroom practices. She examined every aspect of her day. Many times they do not align, and you will have some tough decisions to make. Walking the walk is not always easy, we must reflect on our decisions and actions to ensure they align with our beliefs. Debbie says, "We're the ones in the unique and wonderful position to know where our kids have been, where they are now, and where it makes the most sense to take them next." 
Debbie asks her readers to begin the process of defining your beliefs and aligning your practices. I shared my vision for my classroom last week with Chapter 1, which you can find here
Debbie gives four questions to think about.
1. How do you go about teaching kids something new?
2. What principles guide you?
3. How do you know if kids are getting it?
4. What do you do when they don't? 
I had to write my teaching philosophy a few years ago for a course I was taking. One of my belief statements is, I believe learning best takes place in a safe and positive classroom environment where students feel secure, confident, respected, appreciated, and free to take risks. If you would like to read my full teaching philosophy, you can find it here. However, I need to go back through and make some updates. First of all, it is WAY too long, a full page in length. I want to make brief and to the point statements. I'm going to reflect on my beliefs and simplify my statements this year. 
All of Debbie's belief statements could apply to me, but my favorite was, "Learning is maximized when the lessons I design are purposeful, interactive, and engaging, with real world applications." I am very passionate about providing engaging, hands-on, purposeful learning experiences. 

Debbie recommends spending 15 minutes at the end of each day reflecting on what you learned and writing it down. Over the course of time, you will be able to review and begin writing your belief statements. She says to take your time, revise, rewrite, scratch out, and start over.  Once you have your belief statements, memorize them, display them, let them guide your teaching. 

Thanks for stopping by to get the scoop on chapter 2! Check back next week for chapter 3. 

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