Reading this post gave me goose bumps… seriously! I wanted to jump up and down and shout, “YES!! THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO!!”
The collaborative learning that Shelley describes is amazing and she brings up several strong points that aren’t given nearly enough thought on a day to day basis. Discussing with students WHY they’re learning something, or even why they’re learning it a particular way is essential to keeping the information relevant and the students engaged. I loved her constant use of class brainstorming, and utilizing post it notes is a great way to show how flexible and fluid brainstorming should be!
I thought Shelley made a great observation regarding her students’ attitude while they were outlining their topics; by 10th grade, they had become so accustomed to the idea that if they “wait long enough, they’ll be rescued” by the teacher or a classmate. With the fast pace of the classroom, it can be difficult as a teacher to sit back and give your students time to process the information and come up with a solution. I also thought it was interesting when Shelley commented that she had to facilitate conversations her students didn’t know how to have and model skills like decision making. It reminds you that skills like these aren’t necessarily innate, but rather come with experience and practice. I don’t think it is ever too early to provide this type of opportunity for students.
Finally, I loved Shelley’s closing remarks, “Collaborating. Communicating. Connecting.” Three simple words that represent a whole “culture” and way of teaching - I think it would actually be perfect for a class slogan!