Opening Minds, Peter Johnson, Chapters 1-3
One thing I’ve come to realize as I stare at my blinking curser is that I’m not good at this blogging thing ... yet!
One of the most eye opening experiences is seeing one of my first graders play teacher or read aloud to a friend and you hear yourself in everything they say. That scenario has always been my reminder of how important my words are in the classroom. Not to mention when I saw a child put their hands on their hips, cock their head and say “REALLY!?” when they weren’t pleased with a friend. It’s a powerful responsibility we have to create the environment and community within the walls of our classroom. But as my last job taught me, our reach must also extend outside of the classroom.
Much of the beginning of this book reminded me of conferences with parents of former struggling students. As I met with them, I found myself prepping them for what I was about to share. I front-loaded the conversation with the skills that their child had acquired and the gains that had already made. And then I began to coach them as I shared the things their child was currently struggling with. I learned quickly that in order for my words in the classroom to be of value, the feelings and meaning behind them had to be carried through at home as well. I would be fighting and uphill battle if the language wasn’t consistent. I wish this book had been out back then so I could share some of Johnson’s words with my parents, especially when he shares “Learning takes time and effort, so trying hard is valued.”
These first three chapters have gotten me excited for the fourth chapter regarding feedback. It has been a goal of mine to provided consistent and meaningful feedback to my students. And sometimes that can be a struggle. Often, “Great job!” just flies out of your mouth and your brain is onto the next thought before you realize you need to stop and return to that child to provide real feedback, not just generic praise.
Looking forward to sharing more as I continue to read. And maybe this next post will be on time! :)