Week 1, Day 1 of the semester. Welcome to 18 weeks in the life of a college English professor…or, what I’m affectionately calling “High Heels & a Highlighter.” I have committed to sharing my experiences with all of you. You’ll have a front row seat here in my college English class this semester. As an “Insider” you’ll be privy to lesson plans, learning goals, successes, and (likely) some occasional bumps along the road that happen to us all, not so much failures as, oh, let’s call ’em “learning opportunities.” 🙂
We spend a lot of time at the very first class establishing connections, getting to know each other, and laying the foundation for our Learning Community. One active learning exercise we do is called Common Ground. Students get into groups of 6 and come up with a list of 10 things they all have in common. It is a great way to get students interacting from the very first class!
Fast & Fun Ice Breaker
And of course, I introduce myself, the course objective and overall theme. Along with all of that, I also introduce my students to the concept of Metacognition: thinking about your thinking, or learning about your learning. When students use metacognition strategies, it increases their learning outcomes. Students need to recognize that the brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, and flex it, the stronger it becomes. You can literally build the brain you want. The very latest neuroscience backs this up. Here’s what Judy Willis, MD, had to say in a recent Edutopia article:
“To reduce anxiety about new “stuff” in the classroom — whether related to Common Core State Standards, struggles with reading, or something else entirely — you can find opportunities to emphasize students’ ability to literally build the brains they want. Remind them that, when they turn in a story, demonstrate a science principle in a skit, or even raise their hand to respond to a question, they grow more dendrites and add new layers of myelin to their axons. To them this may sound gross, but it’s actually good news. By activating these brain networks, they continuously use their executive functions as they apply new learning. Like a muscle, the brain responds to interaction and activity.”
Sure, there’s more, but I’ll be keeping these posts more like a “snapshot.” So, that’s a taste of Day One in my classroom. We Read, Write and Connect. In fact…that’s the title of my class! Post a comment on what you do on your first day-I’d love to hear from you. xo~Lisa
Wishing you all the best for a 2014 that is filled with family, friendship, laughter, and new opportunities.
Thank you so much for supporting this blog for the past 6 months. It has truly been a labor of love. I have been so fortunate to have visitors from 47 countries and I appreciate each and every visitor here. I’ve also enjoyed reading your posts, and learning and growing from all of you!
I’m looking forward to a new year chock full o’ possibilities and opportunities to share and connect with all of you.