Sunday, June 9, 2013

Words for the Week

Oh joy!  I am officially on summer break and am so ready to slow down and enjoy the gifts of this season.
One of the most treasured of those gifts for me is simply time. Time to spend with my kids, family and friends  and time to spend doing things that will restore and revive my spirit.
Summer also gives me the time to stop and think about the school year- to consider those things that I tried that worked and those that didn't. I found this year that as I taught my students, they taught me. Each student who walked through my classroom door brought with them a lesson for me in how to be a better teacher. I received lessons in differentiation, lessons in time management, even lessons in patience and serenity.  As teachers we all have the ability, and perhaps the responsibility, to use our experiences to grow in our craft, to become a better teacher tomorrow than we are today.   
This summer I'm excited to be book clubbing with a group of teachers as we read Robert Marzano's Becoming a Reflective Teacher. I love everything Marzano has put out and this will be my second reading of this book and is a good follow up to his book, The Art and Science of Teaching.
Becoming a Reflective Teacher
Here is what Marzano says about reflection:
Just as successful athletes must identify strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and engage in focused practice to meet their goals, so must teachers. 
This book has its readers examining the 41 elements of effective teaching and then leads teachers in a self evaluation of progress in implementing those elements.
Some of the questions that Marzano has us probe are:
What do I typically do to organize students for cognitively complex tasks?
What do I typically do to chunk content into digestible bites?
What do I typically do to practice and deepen knowledge?
What do I typically do to help students examine similarities and differences?
Good questions...especially in light of our rapidly changing and highly demanding educational system. Those of us in this profession recognize what a complex process teaching really is. We are constantly confronted with a multitude of challenges as our society changes, as states increase their mandates and as schools reform. I am so thankful for the collaboration and support I get from other teachers.  Have any of you read Becoming a Reflective Teacher? I'd love to hear your opinions on this one! 
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