My thoughts on chapters 1-3...
"As teachers, we choose our words, and, in the process, construct the classroom worlds for our students and ourselves." (p. 1)
I've been teaching for over 17 years now, and I absolutely, positively know this statement to be true. My actions, reactions and my words in the classroom determine the atmosphere in which we live for over 7 hours a day. I always find it amazing (and a little scary) when I hear kids start to use the phrases and language that I have used with them. This leads me to believe they are also picking up on my nonverbal cues and my actions/reactions. I know all of these will stick with them for a long time, so I'm very aware of choosing carefully. Do I make mistakes? Of course. But reading Peter's book (among others) reminds me to be careful with the language I choose.
"Teaching is planned opportunism... Teaching requires constant improvisation." (p.4)
Isn't this so true?! We just never know where our little learners are going to take the conversation. We have to be ready to just go with it and be "in the moment" every day. Some (or I'd argue, most) of the best lessons come out of conversations that just pop up. Isn't this how real life learning is, too? Yes, I go to workshops and teacher conventions with the intention of learning about something specific... but in conversations with colleagues at those workshops, I get something entirely new out of it!
"Honey, when you grow up I want you to be assertive, independent and strong-willed. But while you're a kid, I want you to be passive, pliable and obedient." (cartoon, p. 7)
This cartoon really resonated with me. I can't stop thinking about it. What message are we really sending to kids? It makes me really think about my classroom community and my expectations for my first graders. Am I giving them plenty of opportunities to think for themselves? Am I fostering independence and assertiveness... or dependence and passiveness?
Fixed vs. Dynamic Theory
Honestly, I don't know that I ever thought about this before. It really opened my mind to phrases and ideas I try to instill in my students... and what message those statements relay. The power of the word "yet" was quite evident in what Peter wrote.
With so much emphasis on data and test scores now, I wonder how it will impact children in years to come. Will they learn to judge themselves based on single test scores, or will they learn to look for patterns of growth? How can we encourage children to always work hard? Will this allow them to realize they do grow and change, or will they fall victim to thinking they will always perform the same way?
On page 15, when Peter talks about the fixed-performance frame, it made me think of myself in terms of reading. I consider myself a good reader. I've always been a good reader... until I compare myself to my Nerdy Book Club friends who read voraciously and seem to remember everything they read! It's so important for us to help children to step out of this frame of mind!
"Your brain is changing and so is the way you experience ideas. Expect to change." (p. 26)
Oh, I loved the way Pegeen Jensen handled it when her first graders told her they'd already heard a book she was about to read aloud! Pointing out that we have changed and that we may think differently when we hear a book again is really important. I always compare rereads to watching our favorite movies again and again, but I am definitely going to take Pegeen's idea and incorporate it into my repertoire.
Below, I linked a podcast where Pat Johnson interviews Peter, and he expands on this idea of fixed vs. dynamic theory. Sometimes it's good to hear it another time in another way! :)
#CyberPD continues next week!!!
July 18 at My Primary Passion with Jill Fisch
July 25 here at Our Camp Read-A-Lot!
July 26 on Twitter (time TBD)
You can also keep the conversation going any time on Twitter using the #cyberPD hashtag. AND... you can add your thoughts to the Wallwisher for this event!
I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's posts to see what their takeaways were this week!