It has been sometime since I've posted. Guilt lingered for a bit and then I began to think about all the work I had ahead of me in my own classroom, with my kids (back to school stuff and transitioning to a new school) and the house. (I am so tired of cleaning and anticipating showings...yes we are trying to sell in this frustrating market.) I feeling a bit more organized but I don't think I'll ever feel completely ready to get back into the classroom...I never do. I think I can get caught up thinking too much.
Speaking of thinking, my neighbor caught my attention the other day when he said, " You know you have it made when your kids can pour their own milk." I thought about how my own children can't pour from a full gallon but can pour if the milk is half full. Then I began to think about how pouring the milk is something I want my school kids to be taught all year. That is, I want them to know strategies and tools for becoming independent. I want them to feel they are independent in the classroom. When I think about these "tools" many thoughts come to mind. Kids need tools for taking care of the room, taking care of each other and tools for learning and knowing themselves as learners. Really, everything I do as a teacher is revealing(arranging for the students to figure out something independently without full awareness of it) tools and strategies that the kids themselves will use. Even though they may not always pour from a full gallon, I want them to know, understand and practice trying.
I remember using questioning quite a bit last year to get my kids thinking about how they could cooperatively design a wall sized map of our city. I supplied cardboard box fronts, paper towel tubes, markers, crayons, small boxes and a story called It's My City by April Pulley Sayre. The students went to town (hee hee...pun here) and created a 3-d city with their homes, streets, our river, local stores, restaurants, trees, grass...you name it. The students loved creating and thinking about our city but I think most enjoyed the fact that it was truly their creation. I just provided the tools. I wish I would have taken a picture.
By the way, Peter Johnson writes about "revealing" in his book Choice Words.