Provide rich teaching for students ... Star this Commitment
Week 3 of 3

kmduncan002 commits to:
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My Commitment Journal
March 20, 2023, 6:26 PM
Stikk Post 5

Engagement Mindset

Self-Assessment I think that all teachers struggle with student engagement at times. One of the major factors in getting student engagement is ensuring that students feel that their classroom is a safe space. We know that not all of our students have a safe space outside of our classroom so ensuring that they feel secure in our walls is the first hurdle. Students are hungry, tired, and scared sometimes when they enter our classrooms. We as teachers sometimes are the enemy that is stopping them from doing what they want to do which is eat, sleep, and just not be here. We need to make the classroom a fun, engaging, and always safe space for them to be who they are and share their ideas. Sometimes we need to be prepared for the fact that they have life needs that are going to take precedence. Like, it is hard to think when you are hungry. So, I let them eat. I also keep snacks for the students. I know that some of them don’t have easy access to food. I also know that my friends always wanted to hang out at my house because my mom did not hide food or say no. Snacks and drinks were there for whoever wanted them. People felt safe and taken care of in my mom’s kitchen. I want them to have that feeling in my classroom. So, I used to bake for my students and share recipes. We would incorporate food into the lesson because full bellies mean one less distraction. We also need to make sure that what we are teaching them is relevant to them. We need to make sure that what we are teaching is something they can use in life outside of the English classroom.

Insight Learning for compliance is learning because it is required. I must do this to get to the next class or grade or to get out of here. I do not want this to be my student's memory of English class. I do not want this to be a student's thoughts of education. Well, this is just what I must do to get to the next goal. I want them to enjoy learning to get something important out of it. I like that the book has us thinking in terms of what activities can we do to help alleviate stress and make education fun for students. I like that the book pushes us to move away from lectures and towards hands on activities that get students out of the desk. I wish that we could move towards getting students out of the classroom and onto the playground and sports pitches more. I think that would help tremendously. I think we need a move away from seat time and toward athletics and the arts to really help students feel that they can express themselves and that we understand them and their needs.

Implement I would like to implement ownership strategies in the classroom. I like the idea of implementing ownership of the classroom and ownership of the work. This really leads to students taking the lead in the classroom. Making choices about reading, the type of work that they do, this can all help with students buying into and seeing the value in the classroom. I also think that starting class with a problem for the students to solve is a fun activity. I can imagine my students really being engaged with this for some of the novels we read such as The Great Gatsby. We could begin the class with a murder investigation and have them try to figure it out. I already do a weekly and daily reflection. I usually jot down notes at the end of the day, week, and unit. Things that worked strategies that I think would be better next time etc. I also go over things I did not do well or things that completely failed and I need to try again. I find this hard sometimes, but I think it is part of being a teacher (human) is that we do fail. This takes me back a few chapters and to admitting we failed and need to try again. I have done that with students, and I think that chapter is on to something. I think with those classes that I say nope this did not work; I am sorry let's try this instead are the classes I have connected with the b
March 20, 2023, 6:25 PM
Stikk Post 4

Rich Classroom Climate Mindset

Self-Assessment I think that I am safety minded when I have a classroom. I make sure that my students have a physically safe environment that meets all the requirements. We spend time learning about emergency procedures and we have also discussed how we feel about emergency procedures. The book discusses how students need to feel safe and comfortable in the class in order to take risks. I agree that this is important. We need to make a safe, clean, and organized environment. I would add that students find security in routine. Students like it when they know how their day is going to go and understand things like how the class is structured. Having a daily, weekly, monthly, and semester plan is a good way to help students feel comfortable and cut down on the anxiety of not knowing what will happen in class each day. Students like to know the rules and that everyday those rules will be handled fairly.

Insight- I found this chapter optimistic. I agree that our mindset as the teacher sets the mood of the classroom just like the mindset of administration sets the mood for the faculty. We need to be the one that constantly puts on the positive face for the students in order to create those safe spaces to learn and grow that they need. It can be difficult at times to do this. I always try to be positive, but we are all only human and can have bad days. I feel horrible on the days that I know my own attitude has shaped the day to the negative. I have always tried to be honest with myself about this and apologized afterwards. If I have mishandled something or not met my own high level of expectations, I try to make sure that I acknowledge that to the class so that they can see me trying to be better. I think that although the book has these high expectations that we are always on point, it is okay for students to see that we can struggle as well and make mistakes or don’t meet our own expectations.

Implement- I would like to look at my classroom rules and make them more streamlined and positive like the ones in the book. I like the cool rules setup that the book recommends that only has 4 positive rules. I really like that the rules could elicit a discussion of what each means and how we can meet the requirements daily. I also like that this covers many things in a positive way. I also found the recommendations in Be Nice to be something that I need to work on. I need to make sure that I am positively affirming the children's contribution to the class and helping to set a kind example for the students. I also like the idea of creating a sense of ownership by saying the word we and making the classroom accessible to students. Students need to feel that this is their space, and they are not just visitors in my space. I try to keep 90% of my classroom for the students. They have their supplies that they have access to and bookshelves, storage areas and multiple sitting areas to choose from. I like for them to feel that they can move freely through the room. If they need a pencil or book they should know where they are and be able to get up and get what they need without interrupting the flow of the class. I am particular about my desk being off limits though. That is my space within the classroom where I keep my personal belongings. That is where I keep my personal belongings like my keys, phone, purse, and laptop. I think for safety reasons this is something that is necessary, and it is important for there to be boundaries within the classroom.
March 15, 2023, 1:35 PM
Positivity Mindset

Self-Assessment- I think that all teachers struggle with this especially after being in the classroom for a while. We become overwhelmed with responsibility and paperwork, and other teachers’ negative attitudes. It is hard to keep a positive mindset. When I stopped teaching to stay home with my daughters I realized after a few months that 1. I was not as stressed out and 2 I really needed to be particular about the next place I chose to work. The next job I choose to take would be a place where the teachers, staff, and administration like teaching and students and want to make a difference. So, this chapter really spoke to me about a decision I made years ago. Choosing to be positive and help students to have a positive mindset can make all the difference.

Insight Having a positive outlook and teaching from a place that boosts optimism and helps students feel empowered is something that should be important to all teachers. By being positive, especially in difficult situations such as facing failure, we can teach our students to see failure as a steppingstone towards improvement and reaching those goals we set in the last chapter.

Implement I love the concept of Nutrient words. We do need to use our words as if they are a supplement to our students' educational and emotional diet. Whether they want to admit it or not our words are powerful with our students and our children. I know that when my daughter receives a compliment from her teacher or a friend it brightens the rest of her day. We are the same way. We anxiously await feedback from administrator observations or teacher feedback in the hopes that we find out something positive. All our students need this, but for some we may say the only positive word they hear about themselves that day. That is a powerful and sad thought. We hear all the time to be the change we want to see in the world. I also like the idea of incorporating the power minute and encouraging the children to be positive to each other.
March 15, 2023, 9:33 AM
Stikk Post 2

Achievement Mindset

Self- Assessment The achievement mindset is important for teachers and students to adopt. It is a way to make sure that we all are moving forward. One of the hardest things to admit about yourself as a teacher is that you have pigeonholed students for their background or lack of effort as lazy or never going to achieve. But I think that we have all at some point been so burnt out that we have fallen into that hole. Especially if the faculty we belong to normalize that mindset.

Insight -I think that as teachers especially for older students we forget that not all students learn to set lofty goals or that the only way to achieve those goals is through determination and hard work. I am reminded of a real eye-opening conversation I had with a student when I was pregnant with my first child. She just had a daughter the semester before and was telling me all the ways that I could get free diapers and formula from local agencies and explaining how I needed to sign up for WIC and food stamps now. She then shared her plan to get pregnant again next year to keep the supplements coming in. I asked her how she was so knowledgeable about all of this, and she said o this is how the women in my family make a living. If I do this right I will never have to work. I asked her if she had goals outside of that and she said she didn’t see the point. I went home and wept. I was so overwhelmed at the thought that she had no life goals. We failed her and I had no idea how to combat a lifetime of her being told to expect nothing more. We have to foster that mindset and teach our students how to set goals and be determined. This is a conversation my husband and I have often since he trains people at work and I am a teacher. He often comes home and says that for his workers a lot of times they have no motivation, self-confidence, or grit. He has told me stories of men and women just giving up in tests and describes them as shutting down, getting angry, or confrontational when faced with a challenging problem when they are being tested. The point of that portion of the test is not to see if they know the answer. They expect them not to know the answer, they want to see them go through the process of troubleshooting the problem. They are truly testing their grit or tenacity. We have discussed how this needs to be combatted in school since a lot of these men and women have never learned how to overcome obstacles but have learned avoidance techniques. This is extremely problematic for life, but in my husband's line of work these inactions could cost the people or others around them their lives.

Implement I love the SMART goal chart. I think that this is an amazing tool to use in the classroom with my students and I cannot wait to implement this strategy. This will help students achieve a growth mindset and can encourage the grit work ethic. I also really need to be sure that I am setting challenging and engaging tasks for the students that truly make them work towards the goal at the end of a 9 week or semester. I am thinking about adding a performance element to each 9 weeks such as a play performance at the end of the Shakespeare unit etc. The last time that I taught The Great Gatsby students did all the research and planned an end of unit flapper party. They planned the menu, decorations, outfits, music, and even taught each other dances like the Charleston.
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