Saturday, October 25, 2014

Not your Traditional Classroom, Not your Traditional Teacher

Our classroom at times looks chaotic, messy and noisy.  Well, it looks this way MOST of the time.  Visitors to our school have different reactions.   Just last week we had a visitor into our school that spent some time in my classroom and the 5/6 classroom.  She was a retired principal, worked for the ministry, and had been in and seen many classrooms throughout her career.  When we debriefed at lunch, she said, "I don't know if I could do it how you all do it  everyday."  Our classroom is a buzz of excitement and engagement everyday, a lot of the time you may not even see my teaching partner or myself because we might be sitting on the couch giving feedback to a student, or in a corner on the carpet with a small group reteaching a math concept or at a table listening intently to a group of students trying to figure out their next steps in their inquiry project.  I assure you that this chaotic  looking way of teaching is not only working in our classroom, our students are excelling in our classroom.  Next time you walk by and assume that we have no control over our class, come in, sit, watch and talk to the students.  You will be pleasantly surprised what you will see and hear from the buzz in our classroom.

I am not a traditional teacher and I am proud of that.

I don't have a fancy mark book.
I don't make cute worksheets.
I don't teach from a textbook.
I don't teach in themes.
I don't use technology to say I use it.
I don't have my students in rows or even desks.
I don't have perfect bulletin boards that I have bought from a teacher store and plastered all over my classroom.
I don't have a quiet classroom.

I do teach my students to colour out of the lines.
I do encourage collaboration.
I do a lot of one to one or small group instruction.
I do let my students sit at tables, lay on floors, and sit on comfy couches.  (Why do students have to be uncomfortable to learn?)
I do have sticky notes, Evernote spreadsheets, shared google docs with comments, grades and next steps for my students.
I do know my students, I know their strengths, weaknesses, what sports they play and what motivates them.
I do use technology in ways that are innovative, engaging and different.
I do care about the learning journey more than the pretty final product.
I do give my students choice, in who they want to work with, what they learn about and how they learn it.

I don't have a quiet, pretty and neat traditional classroom.  I have a student centered classroom that promotes creativity, individuality, problem solving and collaboration.

I do what I feel is best for the students I teach.  I strive to be the teacher I would want my own children to have.


  1. Love the excitement! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I would LOVE to teach with you. This sounds so perfect!

  3. How did you make that tree in your room?

    1. There is a post in the middle of the room and I covered it with paper and used paper around the top of the tree that hangs from the ceiling.