Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Teaching with Intention Book Study: Chapter 2 {Beliefs and Practices}

I am so excited to team up with my local blogging buddy Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard for a book study on "Teaching with Intention" by Debbie Miller.
I am hosting this chapter with my fellow bloggers Amanda from The Primary Gal and Melissa from Mrs. Dailey's Classroom
  Make sure you hop over to their posts and see what they thought of chapter 2!!!
This was a really good chapter in the book.  Chapter 2 is about defining beliefs and aligning practices.  You should have an end goal in mind.  Even in September, Miller says that you should know where you want your students to be in April and May.  You should establish beliefs that guide your teaching.  Don't worry about if it takes a long time.  I read that it could even take up to a year or more.  I loved this quote in the book.  "Real life isn't scripted.  Neither is REAL teaching." 
After you determine your beliefs, you need to align them with your classroom practices.  Take a closer look at what you are doing and what you are having the students to do.  Miller lists four questions that you should ask yourself when considering this.
1. Where's the evidence of this belief in the classroom?
2. What kinds of things should I be seeing, hearing, doing to support this belief?
3. Where does this practice fit into what I say I value?
4. What studies support this practice?
Miller found herself making tough decisions when her beliefs and practices did not align.  She asks "Was it the statement or the practice?"  Most times she found that it was the practice.  She discusses an example where she found herself not listening to her students and expecting them to mirror what she was thinking.  Miller suggests using a classroom community approach where all students ideas are valued and respected. 
Miller gives suggestions for truly defining your beliefs and aligning your practices.  She suggests getting together with a small group.  She suggests a discussion that answers the following four questions.
1. How do you go about teaching kids something new?
2. What principles guide you?
3. How do you know kids are getting it?
4. What do you do when they don't?
She also recommends reading books, sharing classroom experiences, trying new things, and observing one another teaching. 
Lastly, Miller suggests keeping a notebook and writing down your observations, reflections, new thinking, learning, and questions.  You should think about what you value.  She says to take fifteen minutes at the end of your classroom day to write your notes.  After doing this for awhile, revisit your notes.  Keep these beliefs and practices at the forefront of your teaching.  You will have obstacles such as district mandates that interfere with your beliefs.  Miller says to do what you have to do and continue to reflect on your teaching and learning.
Here are some questions for you to use to guide your post and help you to begin thinking and reflecting about your teaching and learning.
Question 1
What are your beliefs about teaching and learning?
Question 2
How do you build a sense of community in your classroom?
Question 3
How do you go about teaching kids something new?
Here is a freebie just for YOU!!!
Miller suggests writing down your daily reflections for fifteen minutes.  You can use this FREEBIE to record your notes on.
CLICK the picture BELOW!!!
Link up below!!!!

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  1. I totally agree that we need to make sure that what we are doing reflects what we say! I love the idea of writing down what I see every day in my classroom as well. Thank you for sharing your ideas!!

    Mrs. 3rd Grade 

  2. Great post! I love the quote you pulled from the book, "Real life isn't scripted, neither is real teaching." Such a true statement. I also loved the sheet for reflections. That is such an important part in making sure our beliefs align with our practices. Thanks for sharing!

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