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Teaching With Intention Chapter 1

I am so excited for this book study to finally kick off!!!!!   Can you believe over 600 people signed up to participate?!   I know there is going to be some serious (and fun) learning, sharing and collaborating this summer!!!
#teachingwithintention   (Let’s use that hashtag on social media!)
My ideal classroom is what you see when you walk into my room.  I love cute, colorful classrooms that are uber organized, but I also refuse to  spend all of my time organizing and cleaning.  If you walk into my classroom, you will see a well used classroom that is evident of students working, sharing, collaborating and HAVING FUN!  I am a firm believer in ignoring the paperwork, the “stuff” we are told to do and focusing on my students and their needs.   My classroom is child centered and everything else can wait!  (Hence the paper piles and less than stellar organization…but hey, it’s our room and we love it!)
I was also very excited/relieved/validated when Debbie Miller said an ideal classroom has anchor charts and student work everywhere (pg 11)!   I love having anchor charts and student work everywhere.  People always comment on my classroom and how much stuff I display.  I am an advocate of displaying all of their work!  I would hang up every piece of work If I could.  Most of what’s in my classroom is anchor charts, student art and student work!   If you want to take a fun GoPro tour of my classroom you can check it out on YouTube!
In my classroom, my students have a lot of choice and independence.  They are free to sit where ever they choose (we don’t have tables or desks!)!  During our hippopotamuses time (centers/workstations) they have choice on which centers to work on and where they work!   This freedom and choice is empowering to students which leads to more buy in and engagement and less behavior issues.  I have a lot of visitors in my classroom and this choice and freedom is one thing that people talk about the most!   It’s a defining piece of our classroom!  It’s OK to give up some control…but as Debbie says, this doesn’t just happen, you do need to train your students to handle the freedom and set the expectations so everyone can be successful!
On page 14, Debbie writes that “the teacher is on the side…”  When I read this I was reminded of an amazing college professor who taught me that my job was to be “a guide by the side” and that’s what you see in my classroom.  The students are the leaders.  They’re in charge of their learning.  It’s THEIR classroom and I’m just there to be a guide by the side!

One thing I am most proud of is something I was made aware of quite by accident…you see, we have teachers visit our classroom all of the time (Our door is always open so come visit!).  One day there was a group of 6 teachers observing (no biggie for the kids…) and I happened to notice one of the teachers’ notebooks had this written on it:  “Mr. Greg doesn’t do a lot of talking!”   After reading that, I realized that I don’t do a lot of talking!  My ‘staches do a lot of the talking…Less teacher talk is key to a successful classroom!  The more my students can talk, the  more they learn!!!   (PS  I promise I wasn’t snooping on her stuff…really…it was an accident…I’m not a snooper!)

You will also hear music!   In the morning for arrival we’re jamming out to Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars.  And I mean jamming out…I crank our music (and yes, sometimes the librarian comes to me because it’s too loud…)…during our work times, I like to play lullabies from Rock A Bye Baby on iTunes!   They take popular songs from Michael Jackson (for example) and turn them into lullabies!  It’s AMAZING STUFF!   It’s soft and quiet so we can work and talk and read and write but gives the room a nice atmosphere.  And the ‘staches ask for  the music to be on all of the time!

In my classroom, my students are engaged in learning and exploring and you can find me doing a few things!   I might be at my guided reading table with a small group or working 1 on 1 with a student.  I also like to sit with students and work on their hippos (centers/workstations) with them!  
In this SmorgieVision video, you can see and hear one of my staches working on her hippo.  I love how we’re able to listen to her as she works!  This is what we do in our classroom!!   I love having a GoPro camera in the classroom but it gives a rare opportunity to hear some authentic “buzz” as Debbie Miller calls it!  

This is easy!  ORGANIZATION!   I need to do a better job of keeping up with the paper piles.  I start every year with the best laid plans…and day 1…BOOM!  The paper wins!  Then I loose what I need and get stressed out…you know…I will beat the paper monster someday….I will!!!
My friend Keri at Enchanted Kindergarten has inspired me to do something else next year….Keep my door OPEN!  First thing I do when the 8:00 bell rings, is pull the door closed.  No more!!  I am throwing that door open and sharing our fun with the world!!!   Let’s start a movement!  Let’s all pledge to keep our doors open and let the magic of kindergarten fill our buildings!
I have systems and routines and expectations in place that allow us to have the freedom and choice that is so key to a successful learning environment.
We have a hippopotamus (Center/workstation) system that works beautifully and is student friendly and teacher friendly.
We have a classroom library that is cozy and inviting and STUDENT FRIENDLY to use and teacher friendly to keep organized!

A HUGE thank you to our hosts for chapter 1:  (Be sure to head to their blog to read their thoughts on Chapter 1 and SNAG SOME AWESOME FREEBIES!  And if you’re a blogger, please blog about chapter 1 and link up with these ladies!)
Keri at Enchanted Kindergarten
Jessica at Mrs. Plemons’ Kindergarten
Stephany at Primary Possibilities
And now I have a huge and exciting announcement about our book study.  
You see what had happened was….I emailed the publisher of the book who emailed a lady who emailed DEBBIE MILLER!   I asked if it would be possible to set up an “interview” with Debbie at the end of our book study.  AND SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   People, we’re working on details but DEBBIE MILLER is going to wrap up our study in July by answering our questions!
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!!!!!!!

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