We organize our thinking before we use it to learn and work! Our first step is to quiet our brains and bodies. That helps us be more centered and aware. Next, we identify a goal so we are purposeful in our learning and work. Many of the concepts and skills we're puzzling out are complex and multifaceted so we identify steps that help support and organize our thinking. Those steps become our plans for our work. Thinking about what we know, identifying relevant facts and strategies and applying them are part of our plans. Checking back to see if our work makes sense to us is also an important step.
WE TAKE RISKS!
It can feel risky to make mistakes! But we can tell you that when we make mistakes, our brains grow! That's good news and reassuring because a lot of our learning and work is application based which can be tricky and hard. We choose to be a learning community with a growth mindset! Focusing on what we know and do well, recognizing how we need to change our thinking and what we need to do differently provide a plan for improvement. Sometimes our efforts feel like we're not there yet. But we recognize the promise held within the word yet. That's powerful!
WE READ AND WRITE!
Reading and writing can be engaging and fun but there are so many things to keep in mind to do them powerfully. Identifying a purpose gives us a more clear focus. We might be focused on the characters in a story, how they interact and what those interactions tell us about them. Our focus might be learning as many facts as we can about a specific topic, using text features to help our understanding. We might be writing to share a small moment in our lives, what we saw, heard and felt and how that made us feel.
We use strategies that we remember help us time and again! Here are a few of our tried and true strategies:
We look for consonant clusters and words we recognize within longer words. Those pieces help us sound out unfamiliar words which helps our understanding.
Stop and think! Good readers stop and think often about what they're reading so that they come away with a more clear understanding.
- We think about the text - the sequence of events that happen in a story, the characters. We look back to the text to find evidence, those key details that support our thinking.
- We work on thinking beyond the text. Beyond what the text actually tells us. This can be tricky and hard because it involves making inferences, reading between the lines and making connections and predictions based on a blend of what we know from our experience and from the text.
- We think about author's craft. Recognizing text structure and elements helps us understand the decisions the author made in how she or he told their story or presented information. That might be point of view - who is telling a story? It might be how the information is presented such as chronological order. One of our favorites are the photos chosen for the text. Photos packed with color and fascinating details that help tell a story.
Structure words help us picture what we're reading and our writing! Structure words help us organize our language so that we can build pictures in our minds. The saying, a picture is worth a thousand words, illustrates the power pictures have. Structure words help us build vibrant pictures, loaded with color and movement. The structure words we use include: what, color, number, size, shape, where, and movement.
WE SOLVE PROBLEMS!
Math invites us to be problem solvers! That can be messy! And tricky which can be a lot at times! We're learning to puzzle through hard problems by identifying the information we're given, and using our number sense and skills. Drawing simple math pictures also helps us understand problems and create solutions.
Working on complex math problems helps us build our flexible thinking skills. Thinking flexibly may mean changing our counting pattern within a problem; it may mean shifting our thinking from partial sums to totals. It can mean so many different things which means that it's often challenging!
Have a growth mindset is so important! Real world problems don't come in a neatly packaged kit which can make them exciting, intimidating, frustrating and rewarding. Problem-solving can be a process and one that's dynamic, with changes found in small details. Our work is demanding - so much to keep track of! We try to remember that we're good with that and that it strengthens us as learners and problem solvers.
WE ARE CURIOUS!
Learning extends way beyond our classroom! We are learning things every day, in lots of different places. Our natural curiosity about our world and the growth mindset we're developing are inspiring us to be learners! And our compassion motivates us to be problem solvers! We want to take what we're learning in our classroom out into the world. We can do great things!
WE LEARN TOGETHER!
Learning together is fun! We make discoveries and share ideas. It's more fun when we learn together, taking turns helping each other and being helped by each other. We are a learning community!
I'M HAPPY TO HEAR FROM YOU!
If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.