On Tuesday, September 28, my learning circle had the opportunity of leading an engaging discussion about this week’s reading. The reading was split into four sections: Uncovering the Lesson of Classroom Furniture, Getting Your Classroom Together, 12 Suggestions for New Teachers, and How I survived My First Year.
I believe that Uncovering the Lesson of Classroom Furniture and Getting Your Classroom Together are intertwined together as the overall environment. of the class. One key idea in both of these chapters was the importance of keeping in mind the students’ needs within a classroom atmosphere. This is such a crucial idea when putting together any kind of classroom. You want a classroom to be welcoming, which is why you are decorating in the first place, but at the same time, you want it to meet the needs of students emotionally and academically. At the lower levels, things like organized shelves and containers with art supplies help students access what they need efficiently. At the middle and adolescent levels, making sure students know where to turn in their work, find missing work, etc. is also crucial in helping the succeed academically. Then, at all levels there is the importance of seating. There is ineffective and effective seating. For example, rows and columns may be productive for individual work and testing, but ineffective for collaborating, and socializing. Clusters and pairs are great for collaborating in small groups. Horseshoes, or “U” shaped desk arrangements are great for discussions. Open space in the middle is great for the younger levels who may need to sit on the floor. These two chapters really come from the perspective of, “What is everything that I need to think about when creating an environment for my students?” They help you understand the deeper meaning behind just “decorating,” it’s meeting the needs of your students and you!
12 Suggestions for New Teachers and How I Survived My First Year seem to also be connected because some of the ways to survive the first year is by implementing the suggestions. The suggestions are as follows: mutual respect (give respect, get respect), focus on social justice, minimal rules (and be transparent, curriculum connection, reaching out, foster confidence, home language (work with all languages to the best of your ability), minimal lecture, engaging activities, beyond classroom connection, meaningful and applicable lessons, and lastly, a calm approach. All twelve of these suggestions for a. new teacher are crucial to surviving the difficulty of being an educator. The top three main ideas that were discussed in the class were respect, reaching out, and meaningful and applicable lessons. In How I Survived My First Year, it is strongly encouraged that new and old teachers build a community with one another, to create some sort of support system, which I believe is absolutely beneficial to a productive teaching career. Learning to love the job and the students can be difficult at times, but absolutely worth it.
Within in class we had one main activity and multiple discussions among small groups. The main activity happened right after I spoke a little bit about Getting Your Classroom Together. Basically, I asked students to each take out a piece of paper and create a general sketch of what their ideal classroom would like. I asked them to think about the seating, where the desks were faced, where the decorations would go, and if they had some sort of class pet or not. While walking around, I noticed a lot of cluster, pairs, and horseshoe desk arrangements. The mini discussions were revolved around these questions: What makes you most comfortable in a classroom, Why does it matter what your classroom looks like, How does staying organized help the environment of your classroom? Which of these 12 suggestions stands out most to you? Why is it important to under that things in your classroom will not always go according to plan? Overall, the class discussion was great and I loved seeing students be interactive and willing to share their thoughts.
I helped create the presentation and creating an overall engaging lesson without it becoming too much of a lecture. During the learning experience, my responsibility was to teach about Getting Your Classroom Ready, I thought I did a good job of engaging the students and having them discuss certain points. All of my references are from The New Teacher Book.