Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UVA Conference - Day 2! Shaping Environment

This morning's talk focused a lot on Shaping Environment. Yesterday, we watched this touching 60 Minutes clip about Gospel for Teens. We discussed in more detail this morning. Both parts of the show add up to 30 minutes, but I dare you to try and watch it and not get misty-eyed! This lady is with it! The teaching world is hurting because she isn't in it full time! Whether she's read the research or not, Vi has done what it takes to make sure that her classroom environment has what it takes for student success. 

So what does it take? Well, I've taken some of the concepts we talked about this morning and added in my own take, and some other resources (not from the conference) that I've come across over the years! 

-A love for your content (at least one subject area). Kids need to see passion in their teachers! This makes me think back to Teach Like a Pirate

-Understanding, but not accepting, failure. Kids will fail sometimes. Failure is part of the learning process sometimes. We get that. But failing forever is not okay. As Carol Dweck or Angela Lee Duckworth might say, you've got to have grit! Here's a great video about grit!

-Kids (and teachers) need to leave their baggage at the door. No one said this will be easy. But it's necessary! This is where some mindful practices, anchor breathing, or yoga might come in handy!

-Connecting the curriculum to kids' lives is key! It's age old teacher knowledge that you've got to have kids make connections, and see the content as relevant.

-Teachers have to believe in their kids. We have to have that growth mindset that says that all kids can become smarter. You read that right, not JUST "All kids can learn," but "All kids can become smarter!" Words like high-ability, low-ability, etc. just serve to perpetuate the idea in kids' minds that ability is a fixed thing. I really like the term "readiness levels" instead. If a kid is at a low readiness level, that just means he needs scaffolding to help him be at a higher readiness level. Imagine a kiddo thinking to themselves, "I have low ability." Now imagine that kiddo thinking, "I'm not ready, yet." That last word makes all the difference. Check out this short video of Carol Dweck talking about the Power of Yet!

-Teachers have to take every opportunity to understand their students. You need to study your students! Like I mentioned before, having a strong teacher-student relationship can have one of the hugest impacts on student growth! See what this thoughtful young teacher did in her school!

I'm still enjoying the conference! I really feel like there just won't be enough time to suck up all the knowledge that is being offered. I love the fact that research and decades of experience are backing up my beliefs on teaching. I'm looking forward to working even harder to make sure that I am doing everything possible to have a respectful, and effective learning environment. I'd love to hear your thoughts about the videos, and how you think they might go over at a back to school in-service day!

I'll check in again tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like an awesome conference! Can't wait to hear more about it!


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