Thursday, August 14, 2014

Expeditionary Learning -

Ron Berger and Yours Truly!
When I started my teaching career with my special ed preschoolers with their peer mentors, I knew I had finally was in the place I was meant to be and doing what I was meant do in life -- TEACH. Those children taught me so much about myself and I with the peer modeling I saw children working together at it's BEST! After that year I transitioned to 3rd grade and then onto Kindergarten.   In each position, I had my children collaborating, drafting and revising, asking questions, reflecting, writing, writing, and WRITING, and critiquing each other's work -- little did I know that I was using parts of Expeditionary Learning -- which always just felt THE RIGHT WAY TO TEACH to me! Some of my peers would say -- "your class is the one with kids moving around, working in groups, and talking a lot."  So at times I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. But I saw kids excited and passionate about what we were learning. I personally never enjoyed sitting doing worksheets all day long and I knew that kids learn in all different ways. So I naturally taught that way!

When I was hired at Manara Academy, I immediately felt at home. All of the things I was doing were validated ... and there's so much more to make children's learning experience even more meaningful. Today, our Irving crew and Arlington crew came together and were in workshops with the chief academic officer for Expeditionary Learning -- RON BERGER! He's phenomenal and the children that had him for a teacher are extremely lucky! We were extremely lucky to have him share his knowledge and expertise with us!

Ron, along with our new School Designer - Rayna did an amazing job! Rayna gave us many incredible ideas for the self-managed classroom and I'll share some of my classroom experiences with that this year. Ron walked us through a great discussion on peer critiquing children's writing. We also saw more, in depth, on how to work through revisions to make children's work high quality. I will also share with you what that looks like this year as well.

I purchased this book, written by Ron Berger, at the beginning of last school year and have read it cover to cover and will re-read it again as I go through this year to re-visit some of the strategies.
Book is available at
I was honored to have Ron Berger autograph this book for me .... I truly didn't know if I would ever meet him or have this chance -- so it really was a pretty exciting thing!
Ron Berger signing my book! Yes - the author in me was excited
the teacher in me was ecstatic!

If you are a teacher and are not in an Expeditionary Learning (EL) school, but are interested in learning a little about EL -- this book is a great reference tool.
It truly explains how to get students excited to take responsibility for their own learning.
This week of professional development went by so quickly. I know I am going to implement a few new strategies into my classroom to make the children even more engaged and excited to learn!
So excited to have the new kiddos start next Wednesday, August 20!
Ron Berger and I and possibly an AURA from Sofia A.

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