What is a "democratic classroom?"
It is a place where students are fully involved in the decision-making process with regards to their learning and learning environment. Students are making real decisions within a classroom community that allow them to see concrete outcomes. When students are involved in making decisions for their own learning process, it leads to increased motivation and success.
What does a typical day look like?
What is Project Based Learning?
Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge. It differs from a traditional teaching method. See the graphic below:
What are your goals for my child?
While we will both have several goals for your child throughout the year, your child will be developing his/her own goals as well, both personal and eduactional. Some of the goals we have for your child include devloping the following:
- Love of Learning
- Student as Leader of Learning
- Perseverance & Grit
- Questioning and Research
- Short/Long-term Goal Setting
Why is my child telling me that he/she is constantly frustrated or that you won't help them?
While we fully understand that it is difficult to see your child frustrated or even fail at something, it is necessary for children to experience this frustration and failure to develop the skills necessary to deal with disappointments and setbacks - skills such as resilience, perserverence, creative thinking and the ability to communication their needs. In our classroom we celebrate failures and setbacks because it provides proof that we are engaged in the learning process. It is never the case that we will refuse to help a your child. It will be the case, however, that we will challenge your child to find out answers and problem solve on their own before we step in with assistance. An example of one of the procedures that we have in our classroom is, "Ask three before me" in which students find three peers to ask the question of before they ask the teacher. This is for questions or procedures that have already been review or practiced.
How do I know my child is learning the required content for 4th grade?
All of our lessons are designed using backwards design. What this means is that we look at the required state standards first and then work backwards from there, designing our assessments (what we want the students to be able to know) and then our lessons (what we want them to be able to do).
Why doesn't my child have more homework?
Homework is a highly debated subject in education. There is no research that supports assigning homework to instill a sense of responsibility, perserverance, and/or motivation within a child at the elementary level. It is our belief that homework should be meaningful and provide opportunities for home/school connection. We ask that students read every night and record their information on a reading log. This helps us understand them better as a reader to make sure that they are choosing a "good fit" book and that they are challenging themselves to grow as a reader. There will also be times that we send home math games that are meant to encourage family interaction and to encourage students to talk to their families about math and practice the strategies that they are learning at school.
What is a Wonder Wall Project?
The latest in education is asking us to teach our students to create their own questions, do their own research, and form their own conclusions with their learning. The Wonder Wall project allows students to pick their own project and learning outcomes, while still hitting all the standards and skills for their grade level. Students are then required to create a presentation to share with peers, administration and parents.