September 2013

Today, I’m thinking about September.  In the last two weeks, I was fortunate enough to get to visit two non-traditional schools Four Rivers Charter School in Greenfield, MA and the MET School in Providence, RI.  Both schools are more student-centered and seem to do extensive work on social-emotional, scholar skills with students so that their community is calm, safe, and welcoming – qualities that are important in every school but even more important when asking students to constantly share their thinking.

I am wondering what social-emotional or scholar skills do I need to teach?  How do I teach them genuinely?  How do I balance the building of those skills/classroom community with doing math?  I’ve done this before, but never so intentionally, and I never felt like we had the time.  Throwing everything out the window means that I’m going to grant myself and the classroom community the time.

The social-emotional, scholar skills I am currently thinking about include …

– Working in groups

– Working alone

– Holding a math discussion

– Respecting the people and the space

– Peer review/feedback

– Revision of work

– Self-awareness around strengths and weaknesses

– Making good choices within more freedom

While it is challenging to pinpoint all the SE/Scholar skills, the how is even harder, at least for me.  My main ideas for the how right now include …

– Student generated anchor-charts with norms

– Self-reflection (but how to make meaningful?)

– Community meetings

– Anonymous suggestion/feedback box

So, brilliant readers, what ideas do you have for me?  What books should I be reading about this?  I know there are teachers who are way smarter than I am in general and particularly about this.



One thought on “September 2013

  1. Based on what you wrote, I recommend Tribes ( It’s a community-building program that I’ve used for several years in my classroom. Their books are full of information, but if you can go to a training, it will make even more sense because the trainings are conducted so that you experience the community-building process firsthand with the other participants. Best of luck!

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