In Literature, we began the first week of school by discussing The Responsive Classroom Practices. It emphasizes teaching children to take care of themselves, each other, and the school environment so that everyone can learn at his/her best. At the beginning of the school year, children walk into school just as excited and nervous as their teachers. They rely on the adults in charge to set the tone for the year. Questions such as, “Will we have homework this year?’, “Will there be tests?”, “What are the rules here for this class, other classes, Lower Yard, the pool, the lofts, the stacks, etc?” These questions reflect their unspoken thoughts and fears: Will I be safe here? Will I be able to do the work? Does the teacher like to have fun? Is the classroom “ours” or just the teacher’s? The task of creating a positive learning environment for all of the students rests with the teacher…..and yes, your children too!
You’ll notice our class focusing on what it means to be a student in a 4th and 5th grade Literature class. They have had full contribution in coming up with the norms of the classroom as well as how students treat one another throughout the day. You’ll also see a strong emphasis on students setting goals for their own learning and taking responsibility for reaching those goals. Please feel free to stop by to get a closer look of what the student’s examples of: Responsibility, Empathy, Cooperation, Assertion and Self-Control. Building lifelong readers starts here. Anyone who calls himself or herself a reader can tell you that it starts with encountering great books, heartfelt recommendations, and a community of readers who share this passion. A trail of worksheets from a teacher to their students does not build a connection with readers; only books do. Our class has been reading independently and instructionally from the second day of school. Students also know that reading for a minimum of 30 minutes at home is required daily homework.
The Bixby community is convinced that if we show students how to embrace reading as a lifelong pursuit and not just a collection of skills for school performance, we will be doing what we believe we have been charged to do: create readers. Lifelong readers spend time, often a lot of time, reading. Lifelong readers successfully self-select books. Lifelong readers have a social life around reading.
Next week we are beginning our first Genre Study! For now, it is top secret information as I continue to build excitement in the classroom for their personal reading requirement goals! We will also begin a read aloud book (also top-secret!). Using our read aloud as an opportunity to introduce an author who packs a powerful punch, have whole class conversation, partner talk, sharing ideas they are developing and deepen engagement.