It’s time for chapter 4 of Teaching With Intention!    Thank you to Schroeder Shenanigans In Second and Positively Learning for hosting chapter 4 with some powerful insight and some great freebies!
Schroeder Shenanigans In 2nd
This chapter is all about creating a classroom culture that gets our kids THINKING!!!!!   This sounds like a no brainer…but as I was reading through the chapter (on the worst flight of my life….) I realized there are so many missed opportunities for me to get my little ‘staches to think and share their thinking.
Putting MY own thinking on display is an area that I can improve in greatly.  When I’m doing our writing mini-lessons I am very deliberate about talking out loud so students can hear/see my thinking and process for writing.  So why not be deliberate like that with math lessons and read alouds?!   
Just like we have to model and show our students what good reading or writing looks like, we MUST show them what good thinking looks and sounds like by DOING IT FOR THEM!   
The other thing that really gave me a gut punch in this section of chapter 4 was on page 52 when Debbie Miller says  WE HAVE TO BE PRESENT!

How many times have I caught myself focused on what’s next or the meeting I have coming up or being distracted by technology.  People, it’s ok to admit it.  We all do it.  We’re human.  But how can I model good thinking if I’m not present in what’s happening with the students?!  How can I converse with them about their thinking if I’m not present to hear their thinking???
Teaching has become so overwhelming with mandates and assessment and data and paperwork and tedius, pointless requirements that I tend to lose sight of my job:  TEACHING MY ‘STACHES!   This year, I made a conscious effort to ignore the mind numbing STUFF that doesn’t help my kids and spend more time on my teaching.   I dealt with all of the STUFF later (and honestly, sometimes just let it go and ignored it completely) and guess what?  My classroom continued to function.  Everyone learned.  Everyone was safe and happy.  I say this to encourage you to put the STUFF aside and be present with your kids.  The stuff isn’t important.  Let’s be present for our students and ourselves!
I also have to say, that Debbie is my teacher twin when she says just BE YOU!!!   That’s what I tell my students and teacher friends all the time.  JUST BE YOU!!!!   People want you.  Nothing else.  So when it comes to putting your thinking on display, JUST BE YOU!   
This is another area that I struggle with.  We all know how awkward that silence is when you ask a question and silence.  Are they thinking?  Are they processing?  Are they thinking about picking a booger and eating it?    It’s natural for us to jump in and give the answer or guide them to an answer.  But we’re not teaching them to think.  We’re giving them an answer. 
I tell my class to be “problem solvers” and I stand back and let them figure things out.  Forcing them to figure things out on their own makes them more creative, makes them better thinkers and makes them more independent.  I don’t want my class to rely on me for anything.  
This year we started doing interactive read alouds.  This approach is more of a conversation and less of questioning and answering.  As I read a book, I stop and ask “Who wants to share their thoughts?”  or “Let’s talk about what’s happening.”  And they talk.  They don’t raise their hands.  They just start talking.  And they piggy back off of each other.  (There has to be some training on waiting your turn…knowing when someone is finished so you can share…).  What I love about this is that we’re thinking and sharing our thinking.   Instead of them focusing on getting the answer right for me, they’re sharing their thinking about the story.  And they’re using their classmates thinking to do more thinking.    I definitely plan to do more of this approach next year so we can have even more opportunities to share our thinking!
Jen Jones from Hello Literacy taught me to use the word BECAUSE to get students to think more about their own thoughts and ideas. 
When students share a thought or an idea, in our class, they have to follow it up with BECAUSE…and justify their thinking.  This forces them to not only share more of their thinking but they have to be able to justify their thinking.  It’s also a great higher order thinking skill!
You can click on BECAUSE to see my original post about the shift in my classroom when we implemented this one word!
And finally,  Debbie spoke of keeping a notebook with you and recording students thoughts when you’re conferencing with them so you have their exact thoughts and thinking word for word.  Especially when it’s something profound.    
Then I started daydreaming about a wall in the hall (I rhymed…hehe) with bright colorful paper with quotes from the ‘staches.  How amazing would that be to have a THINKERS WALL?!   When a student shares profound or insightful thinking, you jot it in your notebook and then later on you write it (or print it) on colorful paper and add it to a thinking wall?!

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Today I am linking up with three amazing teachers and bloggers for chapter 2 of our summer book study:  Teaching With Intention!  

Mrs Dailey's ClassroomPhotobucket
The Primary Gal

Be sure to check out their posts and link up your own posts!

So chapter 2 is all about your beliefs about teaching and the practices you use in the classroom.

So,   I want to start off sharing SOME of my beliefs:

I am a guide by the side.  The students in my class must be doing the talking and the work.  My students own the classroom.

I believe that my students are learners and that I am a learner.  We are learning together daily.

Choice and freedom are key to a successful classroom and key to learning.

I KNOW that every child can learn.  It’s my job to facilitate the learning and provide each student all of the tools they need to learn.

 I must create a safe, happy, positive space for learning to occur.

I believe learning should be hands on and messy.

After hashing out beliefs about the classroom and learning, Debbie Miller says it’s vital to make sure you classroom practices align with those beliefs.  If something I’m doing in my classroom isn’t aligned to my beliefs, it must be changed or dropped.

Immediately, something in my classroom jumped out at me.  I need to do a better job of listening to the discussions and talk from my students instead of trying to guide them to an answer or a way of thinking.   If I listen to them more, our learning will be more authentic and more effective.

Finally, I want to share some thoughts from Debbie about our influence.

 As a profession, I hope that we will continue to stand up and fight for what’s best for our students.  This year, I am throwing open my door so everyone can see, hear and feel the learning in our classroom.  We’re no longer hiding when we’re doing what’s right.  I used to say “close the door and teach on”  but from now on my philosophy is “OPEN THE DOOR AND TEACH ON!”

And remember to head over to my Facebook Page to join in the discussions of Chapter 2!

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  • Reply Tracy Ledford June 24, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Love, love, love the thinking wall idea! That could be a beautiful picture of learning, and a timeline of learning over the year. Now you have me wondering where I can carve out a Thinker's Wall in my class, too.

  • Reply Jenea Midgett June 24, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Love the idea of the THINK WALL!!!!! I am going to have to borrow this idea for sure! I got the same pit in my stomach when I read BE PRESENT! I am guilty of this too and have made a goal for the next school year to break this cycle!

  • Reply Ms.Hannah Joy June 24, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    oooo a thinking wall that's some kinder motivation to be a deep thinker.
    I also use because in my classroom and it totally has transformed my classroom. I implemented it mid year a few years ago and the progress in my students was SUBSTANTIAL in such a short amount of time that it now is a staple in my classroom.

  • Reply dongmei pan June 25, 2015 at 1:46 am

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  • Reply Ashley R June 25, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Great post! I love the idea of a “Thinkers Wall.” Kids would love being able to read their thoughts throughout the year.

  • Reply Lee Ann Rasey June 25, 2015 at 9:18 am

    In agreement with the others, a Thinkers Wall would be fabulous to have. It would be a good model for those who struggle with expressive language to help them formulate and express their thinking. I am always thinking out loud for my students, asking myself questions, acting like I don't know and asking them to help me out with what I should do. You always get great-and some not so great-ideas! I used your “because” word and it really helped when we got opinion writing.

  • Reply Suzanne Grisham June 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    -You are AMAZING BECAUSE you put your heart and soul into your job! I just want to thank you for everything you share. I appreciate the time and effort you take. I am already excited about the new school year and plan on using many of your ideas and units in my classroom. I fall into a time warp every time I get on your site! Thanks again for all you share!

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