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LEARNing Walks: The Blog

  • Peer Coaching and Student Engagement

    Posted by Elizabeth Cossen, Two Rivers – Dos Ríos Elementary at 1/30/2015

    LEARNing Walks I was interested in going on the Learning Walk to observe student engagement and positive experiences for learning with children in the classroom.  My expectations were met as I observed the many possible ways students are engaged in the classroom.  The experience of the walk was wonderful.  Driving to sites with coworkers provided opportunities for discussion between walks.  We spoke of the ways children were interacting with their environment, whether it was technology, manipulatives, peers or instructors.  I felt reassured that I had spent much of the beginning of my sessions with children on classroom expectations, seeing that building relationships and setting boundaries does in fact set the foundation for learning.   I really enjoyed watching children interact with one another to help with learning specific target areas, and have decided to have the children participate in peer coaching in my small group instruction times.  Overall the experience was exciting and helped reinvigorate my love of instruction.

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  • Access to Help, Even When the Teacher is Busy

    Posted by Danielle Smith, Two Rivers – Dos Ríos Elementary at 1/30/2015
    L Understandings Having the opportunity to peak into other classrooms across the K-12 continuum of our district was such an enlightening and rewarding experience. I took away several ideas for how to improve my practice, but one really stood out to me. As I watched what students were doing, in almost every classroom, I noticed students had access to help even when the teacher was unavailable. Let's face it, we aren't able to reach every student at the exact moment they need assistance. So when students are able to access a resource other than the teacher, the teacher is free to handle the most pressing issues.

    In a middle school class, I saw students working independently on peer editing. They were accessing a list of prompts for responses to use on their peer's writing. That got me thinking about my students reading to someone, and them not knowing how to respond to their peers. I want my students to listen to their peer and then retell what their peer read to check for understanding. Now, I give students this check mark to hold as their peer reads to prompt them to think about what they heard. I think students feel more confident knowing what I expect, and like having access to help, even when I'm not available.
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  • Tearing Down the Silos

    Posted by Heidi VanBrunt at 1/30/2015

    So often as educators we toil and sow the seeds of our passion in isolation. As the fruits of our labor take root, blossom, and yield results, our classrooms become our silos, from which we rarely have the opportunity to venture out from, or showcase the amazing things happening within.  LEARNing Walks provide just that opportunity, which is why I jumped at the chance to go.

    As best practices are examined, more educators are sharing the value of observing learning across environments, which is undoubtedly a victory for education, but often these are within one’s own building.  LEARNing Walks afford the participants the chance to witness learning across the educational spectrum.  As an elementary teacher, seeing the middle school learners was invaluable.  I was amazed at how much the students were using technology to support and demonstrate their understanding. It was a great reminder to me that I need to be diligent in incorporating technology with my own students so that they leave grammar school with the skills they need to be successful on the next step of their educational path.
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