17 Replies Latest reply: Sep 12, 2013 1:33 PM by Jane Brown RSS

How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?

Jane Brown Master
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Rather it is troubleshooting technology, classroom management, or enhancing differentiated instruction, we all have strategies that work for us and may help a new teacher.

 

Please share a tip that you use to help your students be more independent in the classroom.  Thank you.

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    Kingston Apprentice
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    I am a middle school technology teacher and treat my students with respect.  Why?  Because students are highly into technology, and they can teach me a few things! So it is a win-win situation.  I teach them, they teach me.

    With this concept in mind, my students have a feeling of high esteem and accept their role as a collaborator/facilitator in my computer lab.  With this freedom to explore and share comes the feeling independence to forge forward and enhance the classroom and their peers to where it is a learning community of creativity/collaboration/communication/innovation/critical thinking/problem solving.  Do these concept ring a bell?  You got it...........the 21st Century Skills.

     

    Kingston

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    Karen Richardson Apprentice
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    I teach grown ups and I apply the same attitude that Kingston does...I respect the teachers I work with for their knowledge and skills. I may have something to teach them about technology but they always have something to teach me about their classrooms and their kids. We learn together how they can best use the tools to engage and challenge their students and we reflect on how they can integrate the NETS into their practice to make sure they are preparing their students for the future.

    • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
      Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hi Karen,

      I really like your emphasis on respect for those you teach and your statement about learning together.  I think those are two important keys to success in the classroom for both the students and the teacher.  Respect goes both ways and as the old saying goes, "You get respect when you give respect!"

       

      I continue to view myself as a lifelong learner.  As a teacher, I always learned new ideas, technologies, etc. from my students.

       

      Making sure all students' views are heard and appreciated builds self-assurance and character which helps raise students' self-esteem and independence.

       

      Lynne

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    mso Novice
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    My summer professional development activities have included exploring resources for classroom management and helping students be independent.  Here are 2 articles by Alfie Kohn that address ways that classrooms can become more responsive environments:

    In addition, there is a (new for me) technology tool – Class Dojo – Link- http://www.classdojo.com/about.  This allows teachers to keep an accurate record of student behaviors during class time and organizes this data so that it not only helps the teacher with grading but also can be shared with parents.


    Has anyone used Class Dojo? I look forward to exploring it with my groups this year.

     

    One more way that students gain independence is through workshop models for reading and writing...also keeping supplies central and handy for all to use is a helpful tip.

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    budaaland New User
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    Middle school science students:

    • can benefit from a site like Scitable, a free science library that focuses on genetics and cell biology.  Students can join in scientific discussions, talk to experts in the field, and ask questions about science careers
    • benefit from the use of interactive mobile apps for tablets or smartphones, allowing them to learn by manipulating information or doing virtual labs
    • can accept more control over their scientific experimentation with appropriate supervision because they are independent by nature

     

    We just need to allow them the freedom to explore and build their knowledge.

    • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
      Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Thanks, Bud, for providing information about Scitable.  It appears to have a wealth of information that will benefit middle school science students.


      Is there a particular activity or lesson that you have used from this site that you would like to share?

    • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
      budaaland New User
      Currently Being Moderated

      Scitable is a library of scientific writings that students can access, at least that is how I use it.  I include one of its articles from time to time in their reading list, encouraging my students to learn to read for information found in more technical writings.  This is an art in itself.  Some of our middle school students need to stretch and they can find other young writers here to learn from.  This is just one of many resources I use to recommend scientific writings that can differentiate the background learning that my students bring to classroom discussions.

       

      While looking around your site I found another valuable resource, Science Updates by ScienceNetLinks.  I will be adding this library of current news topics to my suggested readings as appropriate.  I like the fact that students can hear the text and there is a transcript to follow along with.  And then there seems to be some guidance and questions.  Not quite as technical, I have many students who will benefit from these selected news topics.

       

      They have learned that each of them is responsible for extending the classroom learning.  And once they like a resource, they tend follow their own personal learning path.  That is when I feel I have really succeeded as a teacher.

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    eleanorargandona New User
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    I like assignments where students can "run with it".  Many students now have smartphones or access to digital cameras.  My students do a unit on digital photography.  They look for shapes or colors or people, that address the theme their small group pre-selects.  They take digital photos from various angles and discuss which photos highlight their theme best. Then they organize their art show.  Photos are matted, grouped for eye appeal, and posted in the library.  Other teachers have found ways to use these "shows" for creative writing assignments.  I intend to do this project again this year.

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    haroldbischof New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    I assign a creative research project on an historical person each year.  Students are required to collect important facts, but instead of writing an essay they are to present the material to the class in the role of the person.  They make costumes and bring unique items their historical figures would have used.  I encourage students to be entertaining and humorous while striving for historical accuracy.

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    Jeanne Rogers Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I used the "3 before me" rule that I learned in one of the Kagan Cooperative Learning sessions I attended.  It was very effective with 6th graders.  Many times the flow of instruction was interrupted with questions like, "may I borrow a pencil?" or "may I change my font color and size?".  This rule allowed a student to ask three people before asking the teacher his/her question.  Students continued learning and my attention was given to answer more difficult questions and concerns.

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    Jane Brown Master
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    Do you move around the classroom answering your students' every question immediately?

     

    Sometimes letting your students think about their problem without your immediate response empowers them to think logically, ask relevant questions, and try innovative solutions.

     

    I used to give problems in math with three hints. Students were to only read a hint if they couldn't do the problem. First hint was suggestive, second hint was directive, and the third hint was a how to. The important thing to recognize here was a student decided for himself if/when he wanted to read a hint.

     

    What other strategies have you used to help your students be independent in the classroom?

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I really liked the suggestions made in the article "How to create a student-centered digital classroom" published by Mark Barnes in eClassroom News August 27, 2013.  Barnes commented that it's a challenge for a teacher to create a student-centered classroom but the end result is amazing.  He encourages teachers to guide learners in mastering the necessary skills to work independently on interactive lessons and ongoing projects that require web tools. 

     

    Does independent learning increase student motivation?

     

  • Re: How do you help your students be independent in your classroom?
    cmuller Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Jane,

     

    I sometimes give my Adult Literacy Student a choice of what assignment he'd like to do next.  I teach  spelling, reading, and writing activities to help my student improve his reading and writing. I think independent learning helps increase student motivation because then the student feels partly responsible for his learning.

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