Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Daily 5, pt 3: Independence Day

Continuing from before, the biggest change to my classroom operations is the addition of choice and with that comes independence.

Those are SCARY words! Even The Sisters, who wrote The Daily 5, accept that cutting the cord of control can be a frightening decision to make. Funny creatures, we teachers are. We like students who show independence but we like to control it. We want students to manage themselves but we obsess over managing our classroom. We strive to get students engaged in the task that we prescribe for them. Then we wonder why little So-and-so won`t do as he is asked.

Independence day (in the classroom sense) is about coming to terms with the fact that students can make the right decisions if they are given the opportunity. Having taught the skills and expectations that are required to be successful, we need to let them think about how they are going to learn on each day. Let them manage themselves and help them if they struggle. Let them make a choice and guide them if they make poor ones. To really make the point, consider this:

If you instruct a child to read, they know that they have two choices: 'do' or 'do not'. Instruct a child to choose between a list of activities and 'do not' is seldom considered.

So the day approaches.

It is only a matter of days until I explain to my classes how and why they will be trusted as independent and responsible learners. Cross your fingers and stay tuned.

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