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Teachers, this page is for YOU.
We'd like you to share the stories of your successes and "challenges" in teaching in an Inspired Classroom environment. To share your story, click on the "Edit This Page" button at the top of this page and write in your story. When you are done, just click on the "Save" button at the top-right. Its that easy. Its also a very powerful way to help your fellow teachers in Irving and beyond as they explore teaching in an Inspired Classroom.
Starting the year as an Inspired Classroom was harder than I thought it would be. And that was totally my fault. My expectations were higher than what my second graders could handle. My first experience with Inspired Classrooms was with my class from the previous year and we had started in March. They stepped right into the routine of working together and writing to our blog without skipping a beat. I guess they spoiled me!
This year, it took six weeks of consistent team building activities before my class of second graders were ready to work together on our blog. And I discovered that the less elaborate the team building activity, the better. The best tool that I found for teaching my class to work together is the activities from Daily Math Mats (I picked it up from Mardels this summer). They are short activities that review math skills that students already know. I passed out one activity sheet per team. Their instructions were to work together to finish the activity sheet. We spent 10 to 15 minutes a day on these activities and completed one activity a day for about six weeks. The whole process of teaching kids how to work together, being polite towards each other and solving conflicts calmly, was frustratingly slow. And we are still working on those things
Instead of ignoring our blog altogether while waiting for them to obtain their cooperative skills, we wrote to our blog as a class. I would read a post and my students would tell me what to type in the comment box. This ended up being a good way to introduce them to the blog and to teach them how to use it.
After the first six weeks of school, I could see an improvement in the way they treated each other and worked out their problems in their teams. That was my sign that they were ready to move to the computer. They have been writing to the blog for the past six weeks. Some days aren’t very pretty, and I find myself asking how I got myself into this. Some days are great and I think yeah, this is what teaching is all about!
Buffy Wilson, 2nd Grade, Otis Brown Elementary
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