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purpose of school is to educate children and prepare them to succeed in

diverse settings. Students can be successful if they are taught problem-solving skills,

social skills, critical thinking, and how to be open and accepting of others different

from themselves. These are skills and dispositions that will be useful to them in our

classroom, in their daily lives outside of school, in the present, and in the future.

Students will gain these skills through the way content is taught. My classroom is

collaborative in nature; students learn from each other, as well as from the teacher.

Both the student and the teacher are active in the learning process. Group work and

whole-class discussions are common, teaching students social skills and the

disposition of openness and acceptance of others ideas and experiences.

Additionally, students engage in solving problems of substantial depth amongst all

content areas, which teaches them creative problem solving and critical thinking

skills. This approach to teaching also accounts naturally for differentiated

instruction; students make modifications for their learning styles, and the teacher

makes accommodations for a diverse group of learners.

Inquiry and project-based learning is used in collaboration with other

learning methods. The teacher is knowledgeable in all content areas and passes

content knowledge along to students. Obtaining knowledge and understanding is an

essential starting point for practicing higher-order thinking skills such as

application, analysis, evaluation, and creation. Knowledge and understanding are

best taught through explicit teaching methods: giving short lectures and

presentations, reading texts, showing videos, and modeling. Modeling content and

thinking patterns are important for students to develop as learners.

In addition to the teaching methods described, students best learn when they

know they are cared about, safe, and have a sense of belonging. The relationships

that the teacher forms with students are crucial for students to learn content, skills,

and dispositions. It is also crucial for classroom management.

Classroom management is based on the premise that no individual can

control anyone but him or herself. The teacher responds to a behavior that is

causing problems in the class by providing choices for the child to modify her

behavior and giving logical consequences rather than having a set punishment for

anyone who breaks the rules. For example, if one student is talking to another

student during a read aloud, she is given the choice to stop talking for the rest of the

read aloud or to move to a different spot. If she does not make either choice and the

behavior continues, a logical consequence may be that, after the read aloud, she

must write her response to the text while the rest of the class discusses their

responses with partners. Additionally, the teacher gives specific encouragement to

students for positive behavior, thoughtful or creative work, skills they are gaining,

and so on because this practice motivates them to continue in their learning and