October 26, 2011

Creating the Right Climate and Culture

This is part 3 of our book study. If you would like to catch up click on one of the following links:
The End of the Molasses Classes 1 and 2.

Part 3 is about creating the right climate and culture. 
I had a hard time just picking a couple of strategies.

51. Don't constantly stress about test scores. We have to stop sending the message to our students that the purpose of learning is to take a test.
Last year my classes was tested and tested and tested. They got to the point that they either freaked out about the test or blew through it because they just gave up. Testing is important and it has its place in the classroom, but it is not the most important thing. The most important thing is helping the students learn something new. You can't teach if you are too busy giving too many tests. Focus on personal improvement and mastery.

53. Stay connected; have the parents on speed dial.
This is something that I have wanted to do for a while, and I never seem to get to it. I was always afraid to give my cellphone number to people, and I realize that it shows how my level of commitment to my classroom needs to change. Parents need to know the good and the bad. Sending home short notes on good days prepares parents for the days when more serious conversations need to take place.

70. Teach the students not the board
I have a hard time writing in a straight line when I am looking at the board. I imagine that looking at the students will lead to more crooked writing. And I decided, I am ok with that. Students need my eye contact and my smile. They don't really need to see how crazy my hair is by the end of the day.

There are so many great ideas in this book. I highly recommend you check it out. See if your local library has it or a colleague. Or live a little and splurge. You won't regret it.

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