This blog will be the center of all we do in room 239. Main posts will be by Mrs. Kirr, explaining what we're doing in class, blog posts will be done by each student, and students will help write the Genius Hour blog posts to share what we're learning and producing independently.


I have had a growth spurt this summer, and have been involved in myriad professional development opportunities. As a result, I thought it would be beneficial to get my beliefs down on this site so that parents and teachers alike can see what it is that makes me act the way I do in our classroom...

Since I am a very connected educator suddenly, I saw this post by Rick McCleary. He quotes favorite people of mine, including Alfie Kohn and Daniel Pink, along with sixth grade students! He discusses grades, motivation, and how he wants his students to have a love of learning. He sums up what I've had in my brain to write, so I'll just direct you there.

As for redos, Rick Wormelli has some excellent ideas, and they are shared in this post by Carey Lehner. This teacher has videos to watch, and excellent explanations of all I'd like to share with you about my philosophy on student work.

Ahh, homework. I believe homework should help students develop more skills. I believe students should be asking questions, not answering them. Most days, the homework on the board will be to "Read 20 min." When students read, they will be adding to their knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, schema, ethos... We will then use their independent reading to delve into the standards. These reading opportunities will be a big part of our curriculum. I will love using student choice to connect and learn together. (Here are two articles that help me decide what to assign for homework... 
Fiev Hallmarks of Good Homework and Assignments Students Own .)

A handful of books I've read that have influenced my teaching...
     Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn
     Talk About Understanding by Ellin Oliver Keene
     Fair Isn't Always Equal by Rick Wormeli
     Meet in the Middle by Rick Wormeli
     Nonfiction Matters by Stephanie Harvey

One more paragraph from Dr. Haim Ginott...
I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether or not a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized. I am part of a team of educators creating a safe, caring and positive learning environment for students and teaching them in a manner that ensures success because all individuals are capable of learning.

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