One Month To Learn

In one month, setting up my own classroom for the first time ever, and losing it in the end, I learned…

How to create a classroom space, finally, that works — and that not every space can work for every class.

I learned that no matter what I set up, one child and one parent will love it, and one will hate it. And if I change it to please one, another will be disappointed.

I learned how to run really good Responsive Classroom morning meetings with greetings and activities, afternoon meetings with sharing and music and appreciations, and occasional class councils to work out difficulties.

I learned how to organize a long-term project-based learning project  based around students interests.

I learned a bit about how to manage high-sensory need students and autistic students.

I learned how to run a good math group based on Cognitively Guided Instruction principles.

I learned and practiced accurately assessing reading levels and writing levels, and how to start and maintain a portfolio of work that keeps track of what students are learning.

I learned that I am a wonderful singer and guitar leader with my students, and that they can partake in my joy of music.

I learned to use music to signal transitions and to make transition requirements clear.

I learned how to collect and organize student work.

I learned how to create wall displays that are not distracting to ADD kids.

I learned how to set up a library based on the real reading levels of my students and not what I think they would be.

I learned that I can create some really good, engaging literature-based projects that grab students’ imaginations.

I learned to create a schedule that works through flexibility and consistency.

I learned to ask friends and colleagues for help, and to avoid, when possible, the influence of negative people. And when they can’t be avoided, I learned that negative people can’t destroy me.

I learned that sometimes things are not fair and there is nothing you can do about it except maintain your own integrity and wholeness and walk away.

I learned that I have a need for boundaries and that I respect my own need and the needs of others for healthy boundaries, and that I can’t thrive in a place where boundaries are unclear or unhealthily intrusive or loose.

I learned that no matter what someone says to me, I can learn from them, but I don’t have to believe that their opinions are always correct. I have learned to seek the second opinions of people I trust.

I have learned that there are people out there who want to help me learn. And those are the people I can choose to surround myself with.





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