When I lived in New York City I would often fly home to Chicago during February break or spring break. One day was always dedicated to visiting my mom in her Kindergarten classroom. After I moved to Chicago our spring break was always at the same time, until this year. She went back to work today and I was still off so I decided to visit her classroom once again.
There is no better learning experience than watching my mom teach. Today was no exception. Everything said and done has an academic and social-emotional purpose rooted in the highest expectations. Students are the owners of their work and their behavior choices. They are the loudest voice in the classroom; made even louder by the fact that they work together as a learning community. All students have developed into self-directed learners who are ready to meet their individual challenges. Ask any student what they are learning and they will tell you, articulately.
As I sat down with a student to read he was having trouble reading a word. He made eye contact with me and very directly said, "Don't tell me, I can do this." He first looked at the word wall then referenced the reading anchor charts. Again he said, "I know I can do this. G-e-t, get." He was proud of the struggle and working towards the high expectations he has set for himself. No matter what the level (the differentiation was seamless) every student was working hard to refine their reading superpowers.
And then there was the joy. This classroom was filled with so much joy for learning and hard work. We took risks, made mistakes, met aims and laughed until we cried. Here are a few pictures from her classroom, which is beautifully set up in a way that is best for students.
I am lucky that I am able to learn from the best. Thanks, mom.