Seventh grade can be a trying year for some, but I have been gifted with a rambunctious, unique group of adolescents that are tolerant of my crazy ideas and big personality. In turn, we get to embark in hands-on lessons that go beyond the curriculum and help them find their place in the world community. I mean this very literally.
We engage in community service with our campus, consistently reflect on our classroom dynamic, and facilitate meaningful dialogue that includes our ELA concepts as well as real-world issues.
Not every day is a great day, but I like to think that in their own way, each is exceptional. We read, write, think, talk, laugh, and, sometimes, cry. It is the classroom culture that I have created that has allowed me to make connections with the students resulting in authentic learning and growth, and it is this classroom environment I would like to continue to refine and develop.
Having the opportunity to visit Ron Clark Academy would be revolutionary for my classroom. Even though I've got a big personality and voice to match, I am still shy when it comes to breaking out of my shell. Being able to participate in a classroom with teachers who are unafraid of standing on desks, randomly rapping information, or leading a class in a song would help me visualize a new, dynamic way to present a lesson to my students. Rigor isn't about making things hard but making learning demanding.
What better way to ask more of students than through authentic engagement?
Today's youth live in a world saturated with stimuli. Being honest, not every day in ELA is going to capture and enthrall them; however, knowing how to apply an unexpected song or hands-on activity can change this. This isn't something that you can just read in books. Experiencing it in person would bring it to life for me and afford me the opportunity to visualize how to put my spin on things and make it a reality in my classroom.
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