Friday, April 17, 2015

It Doesn't Mean Jumping Through Hoops!

Sometimes teaching feels a little like we're jumping through hoops.  We're moving and going, staying up late planning, and trying with all our might to make our lessons interesting.  We've been taught to do things in a certain way, at a certain time, with certain expectations.  However, what if you found out you were doing it backwards for some learners.  What if you discovered that the very students you felt weren't successful or cooperative were actually frustrated learners because of the way the information was presented to them.  Mind blowing right? It was for me!

EVERYTHING about the way you teach a child determines their successes as well as their failures.  There are so many things we need to consider when we think of our students.  As you know I recently converted my classroom into an alternative learning environment.  My students have choices in their seating, which is strangely more empowering for them than you might think it would be.  The funny thing is I learned so much about my students just by where they chose to work.  I found that I had students that focused more when they were on the floor, students that would pick a Rubbermaid container to snuggle up and read in every time they had a chance, as well as those that preferred to stand.  It opened up a line of communication that needed no words and yet shared so much information!

I adopted the attitude of 'WHY NOT?'.  Why not sit in a Rubbermaid container to do your work?  Why not lay on the floor to write your story?  Why not let a child take a break if you see their frustrated with the work?  We have to remember some key things:

  • If you are having to ask a child to sit down multiple times throughout the day, they probably would rather stand to do their work,  and why not let them?
  • If you have a child that frequently melts down in the middle of writing or math it probably means the amount of work is overwhelming and they need it broken into smaller chunks, and why not give it to them that way?
  • If you have  a child who repeatedly has problems with disrupting class by talking out or even defiant behavior they are probably attention seekers so why not give them some positive attention by assigning them a responsibility... why not?
  • If you notice your student learns better with visual aids or movements...why not provide one every time?
Children are just like adults in the sense that they want to be heard, they want to be comfortable, they want to be respected, and most importantly they want to be successful.  If we take the time to really listen and pay attention to what they are telling us, we would find that they are willing and able to learn.  All it takes is us letting a child know we care and providing them with the tools they need to learn.  Remember it doesn't mean your jumping through hoops, it simply means you're empowering the students in your classroom to be successful!

Our new look now that ALL of the desks have been removed.

The room feels so peaceful and comfortable!  I just love it!


  1. I love it! You are awesome! It's not about compliance to a standard, traditional classroom! It's about being flexible, adjusting to students' physical and emotional needs so they feel safe and comfortable. It's about helping them be ready to learn! Way to go outside that box!

  2. Thanks Kelly! It helps that I have some pretty amazing lead learners supporting me!