Ah from the mouths of students. Every week I challenge my students to blog asking them various questions. This week I thought why not ask them how they would run their classroom? What do they love when we do and what would they change. Well the answers are in and they are very revealing (and not so surprising after all).
- No Homework. The consummate complaint is that teachers give too much of it, that it is too hard, or even worse that it is boring and/or pointless. We know this probably from our own school experience, so why is it most of us ( and I used to be one) feel the absolute requirement to prescribe homework? Students already give you at least 6 some hours of their day, how about we give them a break and let them enjoy life a bit?
- Rewards, candies, and parties. Yes, students want to be rewarded and they do not know why. No students wrote how they would “earn” said rewards but many pointed out that parties were the best thing about school. Makes me sad to think that with all of the amazing learning going on, the parties we throw are the ones that kids remember. So how do we change that?
- More spelling tests. Ok, that one was a surprise. I have a couple of girls that love spelling and so for them a perfect classroom means more spelling tests. Preferably on Thursdays when their minds are still fresh. I am still thinking about that one.
- More creativity. Students don’t want to show us their progress through another worksheet (well, some do but many don’t). Students want to create. So my students are asking for more creative projects. I cannot wait for them to see the Native American Battle simulation I am working on right now.
- Rules. Not the rules you set up, but rules they come up with. This year I do not have rules posted on the walls but we discuss them a lot. Especially trust and just how important it is in our classroom. It shows again that students crave structure with some freewill embedded and gives me a good reminder that we need to have another class meeting to discuss norms.