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5 Classroom Principles

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My top five principles for the classroom are simple, diverse, belonging, engaging, and creative. I would like to explain each of this ideas in relation to the classroom starting with simple and diverse together. I would like the classroom to have a very simple layout and walls, so they are not distracting to the students. Conversely, the space must be diverse to allow for different kinds of learning. There must be quiet spaces, interactive spaces, spaces with access to technology, and collaborative spaces. This offers students more options for how they wish to learn and the teacher must allow them to use such spaces. This does not necessarily mean that the layout of chairs need to be moved to different part of the room, it just means that students can create the space they need and there must be space to do so. For example if students want to work in groups, but all of the desks are bolted to the ground facing front, this is not a diverse space. This can be changed giving the students the ability to move desks and chairs as needed. Belonging is important because if the classroom does not meet this basic need, how can we expect students to learn? Engaging or an engaged student is created by the teacher. If the teacher is bored and disengaged themselves, we cannot expect students to pay attention. Students need to be let loose sometimes; they need to be creative. By engaging with material in their own way, this strengthens knowledge retention and adds meaning to what they are learning. What I did not include in my list is a safe learning environment, because that should not be a choice. Every environment should be safe for the student. Case Closed.

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Making “Gritty” Kids

As someone who interacts with learners on a regular basis, “grit” is brought up as a way of children trying to persist and learn. Grit is a funny way of looking at things. It is the idea that by persisting students can achieve any difficult task. I believe this is true, but not in the way it is presented. With proper scaffolding and multiple points of entry, students can come to understand just about anything, but this is often left out of the ‘gritty-equation.’ This way of making gritty kids seems like we just leave them to figure it out and persist, but we should be helping them along… which is not reward or punishment. 

In simple, we can make “gritty kids” by helping them learn the way they learn because later in life, they may not have someone showing them how to achieve a goal in a way that suits them. The learner must figure out the way they learn and how to translate the messages from others into something that works for them.

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