Developing a Learning Classroom: Moving Beyond Management Through Relationships, Relevance, and Rigor
Publication Year: 2012
Discover powerful ways to connect with your students!
All too often, managing a classroom means gaining control, dictating guidelines, and implementing rules. Designed for any teacher struggling with student behavior, motivation, and engagement, Developing a Learning Classroom explores how to create a thriving, learning-centered classroom through three critical concepts?relationships, relevance, and rigor. Discover how you can: Develop an interactive learning mindset; Create a safe environment where students question, explore, and discover; Uncover a student's learning profile as well as your own teaching style; Use student input to create classroom practices and procedures; Apply brain-based instructional strategies to keep students engaged; Use student surveys and a personal education plan to improve learning environments
Filled with classroom stories, starter worksheets, and action steps, this book reveals the secrets to ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: What Is a Learning Classroom? How to Develop Relationships, Relevance, and Rigor
- Chapter 2: Who Am I Who Teaches? How Knowing Oneself Impacts Practice
- Chapter 3: Who Are the Students We Teach? How Knowing Our Students Affects Teaching and Learning
- Chapter 4: How Do We Reach Our Students? How Procedures and Clear Expectations Develop a Learning Classroom
- Chapter 5: How Do We Teach Our Students? How to Engage Students in Their Own Learning with Rigor and Relevance
- Chapter 6: How Do We Know If Our Students Are Learning? How to Assess and Motivate Students
- Chapter 7: How Do We Stay in the Game? How to Cultivate Learning Communities for Continual Professional Growth
Copyright © 2012 by Corwin
All rights reserved. When forms and sample documents are included, their use is authorized only by educators, local school sites, and/or noncommercial or nonprofit entities that have purchased the book. Except for that usage, no part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
All trade names and trademarks recited, referenced, or reflected herein are the property of their respective owners who retain all rights thereto.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Cooper, Nic, author.
Developing a learning classroom : moving beyond management through relationships, relevance, and rigor / Nic A. Cooper, Betty K. Garner.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4522-0388-1 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Classroom environment. 2. Teacher-student relationships. I. Garner, Betty K., author. II. Title.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
12 13 14 15 16 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquisitions Editor: Jessica Allan
Associate Editor: Allison Scott
Editorial Assistant: Lisa Whitney
Permissions Editor: Karen Ehrmann
Project Editor: Veronica Stapleton
Copy Editor: Lana Todorovic-Arndt
Typesetter: Hurix Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Proofreader: Gretchen Treadwell
Indexer: Gloria Tierney
Cover Designer: Karine Hovsepian
Special thanks to Corwin for the opportunity for us to collaborate and share our combined knowledge and experience with teachers. We are grateful for the work of our editors, Jessica Allan and Lana Arndt, the Corwin production team, and the insightful feedback from the Corwin reviewers and colleagues who helped us refine the manuscript. Some of our colleagues who offered valuable feedback and encouragement are Cindy Buehler, Craig Gilroy, Sheila Chapman, Blaine Goodrich, and Dr. Patty Kaufman. We also extend special thanks to all the students, parents, and educators we have worked with, who have enriched our understanding of what it means to develop an effective learning classroom. The late Earnie Larsen, a mentor to Nic earlier in his career, and his work formed a basis for our perspective on the need to understand family of origin to understand oneself.
Betty also thanks her wonderful husband, Dr. John VanDruff, who provided love and encouragement throughout the writing process, even though he was dealing with chemotherapy for brain cancer. Jane, Nic's wife, has been a rock throughout his career and a constant source of strength and insight. Her support and patience have been a critical factor throughout this process.Publisher's Acknowledgments
Corwin wishes to acknowledge the following peer reviewers for their editorial insight and guidance.
- Jeanne Marie Benoit
- Seventh-Grade Teacher, American History and Language Arts
- Putnam Middle School
- Putnam, CT
- [Page viii]
- Julie Duford
- Fifth-Grade Teacher
- Polson Middle School
- Polson, MT
- Kathy Ferrell
- Instructional Coach
- Excelsior Springs Middle School
- Excelsior Springs, MO
- Nicole Guyon
- Resource Teacher
- Community Preparatory School
- Providence, RI
- Susan Harmon
- Technology Teacher
- Neodesha Junior/Senior High School
- Neodesha, KS
- Barb Keating
- Educational Consultant, Retired Principal
- New Westminster, BC, Canada
- Katina Keener
- Assistant Principal
- Peasley Middle School
- Gloucester, VA
- Alexis Ludewig
- ABE Adjunct Instructor
- Fox Valley Technical College
- Appleton, WI
- Jamie Blassingame
- Licensed Specialist in School Psychology
- Pearland ISD, Special Programs
- Pearland, TX
- Sherry Markel
- Northern Arizona University
- College of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
- Flagstaff, AZ
- John Pieper
- Fifth-Grade Teacher, Read School
- Oshkosh Area School District
- Oshkosh, WI
- Ronda Schelvan
- Autism Consultant and Special
- Education Teacher
- Washougal School District
- Washougal, WA
- Debbie Smith
- Math Coach
- Lady's Island Elementary School
- Beaufort, SC
- Diane P. Smith
- School Counselor
- Smethport Area School District
- Smethport, PA
- Leslie Standerfer
- Estrella Foothills High School
- Goodyear, AZ
About the Authors
Appendix A: Introductory Student Survey (Also Available at http://www.corwin.com/books/Book237330)[Page 121]
(Print Name) _______ Date _______ Grade/Subject _______
- What are you good at?
- What do you wish you were good at?
- What do you wish was easier in school?
- What activities are you involved in outside of school?
- What two words would you use to describe yourself?
- How do you like to spend your free time?
- What kind of things do you like to read?
- What are your favorite TV programs? Movies? Music?
- What are your favorite video games?
- What do you want to be (do) when you “grow up”? Why?
- What do you want your teacher to know about you? [Page 122]
Appendix B: Advanced Student Survey (Also Available at http://www.corwin.com/books/Book237330)[Page 123]
(Print Name) _______ Date _______ Grade/Subject _______
- What do you wish the teacher would stop doing?
- What do you wish the teacher would do more?
- What do you wish you were good at?
- What kind of things do you like to do at school?
- What kind of things do you like to do outside of school?
- What do you like best about yourself?
- How do you go about figuring things out when you are stuck?[Page 124]
- Whom do you admire the most and would love to be like? Why?
- If you had the power and resources to change something, what would it be?
- If you had three wishes, what would they be?
- What do you wish you could change about the past? Why?
- When you dream about the future, what do you see?
- If I were a new student in your class, what would the other kids tell me about you?
- What do you wish others knew about you?
- What three things do you say to yourself most often?
Appendix C: Sample Socratic Questions: Tools to Stimulate Critical Thinking[Page 125]
The overall purpose of questioning is to enhance understanding.Conceptual Clarification: Basic “Tell Me More” Questions to Go Deeper
Probing Assumptions: Underlying Biases, Assumptions, Beliefs, and Values
- Help me understand what you mean by …? Give me an example.
- What essential things do we need to know about this?
- How can you say that another way?
Probing Rationale, Reasons, and Evidence: Basic Principles and Motivation
- What do you believe about this issue?
- Why is this important or relevant to you?
- What basic assumptions are involved here?
- What would happen if …?
[Page 126]Questioning Viewpoints and Perspectives (Different Ways of Looking)
- Why did you choose this?
- What evidence do you base this on?
- What causes this to happen?
- How can you support your position?
- Why? (Ask about six times after each response.)
Probing Implications and Consequences
- What are alternative ways of looking at this?
- What is the difference between … and …? How are they alike?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of …?
- How are … and … similar?
For more information, see http://changingminds.org/techniques/questioning/socratic_questions.htm.
- What will happen next? Why?
- Who will be affected by this?
- How could … be used to …?
- What are the implications of …?
- Beware of leading questions that influence responder to desired answer.
- Avoid close-ended questions that can be answered with yes/no or a single word.
- Use open-ended questions that encourage reflection without fear of being wrong.
- Use the wh-questions:
- What identifies specific details related to an issue.
- Why identifies reasoning and logical connections of an issue.
- When identifies elements of time such as duration or specific moment.
- Where identifies location in space.
- Who identifes persons involved.
- How identifies process of doing something.
Appendix D: Flexible Lesson Design[Page 127]
Teacher selects content and designs instructional goals and activities.
- Students experience and explore (sensory input and cognitive engagement):
- Provide concrete materials for students to touch, see, hear, smell, taste, and interact with. Instead of telling the students what something is like, provide experiences so that they can tell teacher and each other what they notice.
- Encourage students to notice things and share their curiosity and observations. Students need to “see with their eyes”—the physical characteristics of objects. Students also need to “see with their minds”—the connections and unusual things they notice and have questions about. (How the teacher relates to the students and interacts with them affects how engaged the students will be in the activity.)
- Students share (bring something to the learning; use cognitive processing):
- Provide time for students to describe and discuss with each other what they noticed and wondered about.
- Encourage students to ask questions. (How the teacher reacts to students' questions determines whether or not the students will feel comfortable to ask questions.)
- Teacher introduces new materials and concepts (expanded processing):
- Provide connections between student experience and feedback and new information being presented. Pace content and skills so that students can enjoy the challenge of new learning and the satisfaction of understanding.[Page 128]
- Encourage cognitive, physical, and emotional engagement. Present material in multiple ways to meet needs of individual students. (Teacher competence, enthusiasm, relationship with students, organization, and ability to make information relevant directly affect students' willingness to learn new material.)
- [Page 128]
- Students give evidence of learning (output through synthesis and application):
- Provide time, coaching, and materials for students to demonstrate their understanding of the new concepts. (Teacher's willingness to look for, validate, and build on the students' strengths and let students do the work greatly enhances students' learning.)
- Encourage continued questioning and learning through research projects (group and individual) related to the new information.
- Encourage application of new information to life through relevant action to influence change (write letters, fax, call, send e-mail, research Internet, interview, etc.).
- Encourage creative ways to demonstrate understanding:
- In writing (written report, journal, letters, editorials)
- Orally (verbal report, role playing, drama, newscast format, power point, music)
- Graphically (video, drawing, posters, painting, construction of models)
- By teaching information to someone else or making up an assessment
- By using digital formats and multimedia presentations
- Students and teachers reflect (evaluation of learning experience):
- Provide opportunity to reflectively respond to question: “What sense did I make of this?”
- Encourage students to help develop scoring guides to evaluate effectiveness of learning. (How teachers and students collaborate to evaluate learning determines personal investment in continued learning.)
- Discuss with students: What could we do differently to improve this learning experience?
- Develop plan of action: What will students do as a result of this learning? How will they continue to use it in everyday life and other subject areas?
Appendix E: Personal Education Plan (Also Available at http://www.corwin.com/books/Book237330)[Page 129]
The personal education plan can be transferred to any easily handled system from electronic to a three-ring binder and note cards. The idea is to focus on getting to know students on a deeper level by seeking to understand them from different perspectives. Lengthy narratives are not necessary. Instead, brief understandable notes that can inform instructional decisions for this student are best to make the task realistic and helpful.
(Print Name) _______ Date _______ Grade/Subject _______
Interests: (List the interests that the student volunteers or that you notice from observing and listening.)
Learning profile: (How does this student learn best? Be sure to get the student's ideas on this as well as what you might notice.)
Skills: (What skills does the student exhibit or talk about? Also notice those that are not school related. These might provide ideas on how to make this student feel capable.)
[Page 130]Growth areas: (In what ways does this student need to grow? Think in terms of intellectual, emotional, and social growth.)
Cultural considerations: (Are there cultural considerations to be understood? These might include ethnic considerations, as well as economic, but also regional.)
Family considerations: (Are there special family issues that concern you or that will help support this student?)
Behavioral issues: (What misbehavior arises? What might be the cause?)
Interventions: (What interventions have you used? Which ones worked? Which ones didn't?)
School connections: (What friends or adults are connected to this student in school?)
Community connections: (What groups in the community support this student?)
Other: (What else do you notice about this student?)
References[Page 131]Alberta's Teachers' Association. (May, 2011). The impact of digital technologies on teachers working in flexible learning environments. Retrieved from http://www.teachers.ab.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/ATA/Publications/Research-Updates/PD-86-21%20Impact%20of%20Digital%20Technologies.pdf.Anderson, L.W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2000). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.1999). How to keep being a parent when your child stops being a child: A practical guide to parenting adolescents. Canton, MI: Willow Creek., & (2008). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.(1993). Cultural leadership: The culture of excellence in education. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon., & (2005). Critical exploration in the classroom. New Educator, 1(4), 257–272. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15476880500276728(2006). The having of wonderful ideas. New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University.(2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.(2011, June 13). Structural modulation of dendritic spines during synaptic plasticity [Epub]. Neuroscientist. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21670426., , & (2009). Adaptive schools: A sourcebook for developing collaborative groups (, & (2nd ed.). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.2007). Getting to “Got It!”: Helping struggling students learn how to learn. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.(2009, July 29). Critical thinking through learner-centered teaching: An interview with Eleanor Duckworth, Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved from http://www.modernghana.com/news2/229750/1/critical-thinking-through-learner-centred-teaching.html.(2012, December/January). What are parents thinking?Educational Leadership, 69(4), 90–91.(2009). Never work harder than your students and other principles of great teaching. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.(2011). How to plan rigorous instruction. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.(Jacobs, H. H. (Ed.). (2010). Curriculum 21: Essential education for a changing world. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.[Page 132]2011). The special needs brain. In D. A.Sousa (Ed.), Best of Corwin: Educational neuroscience (pp. 127–138). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.(2009). Kagan cooperative learning. Kagan: San Clemente, CA. Retrieved from http://www.kaganonline.com., & (2012, December/January). It's how you use a strategy. Educational Leadership, 69(4), 88–89.(2011). Effective supervision: supporting the art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA: ASCD., , & (2012, December/January). The chance to test our mettle. Educational Leadership, 69(4), 92–93.(2011). So what do they really know? Assessment that informs teaching and learning. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2001, November 2). UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. Retrieved from http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13179&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html.2011, April). Moving to modern assessments. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(7), 63. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/003172171109200713(2006). Research-based strategies to ignite student learning: Insight from a neurologist and classroom teacher. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.(2009). The first days of school: How to be an effective teacher (, & (4th rev. ed.). Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong.
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The Corwin logo—a raven striding across an open book—represents the union of courage and learning. Corwin is committed to improving education for all learners by publishing books and other professional development resources for those serving the field of PreK–12 education. By providing practical, hands-on materials, Corwin continues to carry out the promise of its motto: “Helping Educators Do TheirWork Better.”