Just THINK….Doggone It!

Metacognition refers to awareness of one’s own knowledge—what one does and doesn’t know—and one’s ability to understand, control, and manipulate one’s cognitive processes (Meichenbaum, 1985).

Metacognition….I NEVER use that word with my kids.  But that doesn’t mean that the process is not encouraged.  In my classroom we talk about strengths and weaknesses, how I expect them to be responsible for their own learning, how I expect for them to be independent and critical readers and thinkers.

During class discussions students are encouraged to expound on their thinking.  When they turn and talk, you can hear words like “I think……because…..”. I think that is SO powerful!

We reflect often….what’s working….what’s not working.  What will help them become better….stronger.

But for me, they greatest joy is when we are able to have thoughtful  discussions about the text.  In the beginning – I pushed them.  And we fought….LITERALLY. Now, they push each other.  They discuss, debate, and develop their skills.  It hasn’t been an easy road, but it was well worth it.

I couldn’t be more prouder.

Until the next time,


The Struggle Is Real!


“The struggle is real.”  Lately that is the phrase that consumes me.  My principal is leaving.  Arguably the best principal I’ve ever met is leaving. Dealing with standardized testing and unmotivated kids.  My principal is leaving.  The overshadowing fear that next year I might just have to pack my things and move into a school that was designed 100 years ago for elementary kids.  Did I mention my principal is leaving?  I am definitely in a perpetual state of struggle.  And although I have faith that these things will work out – it still keeps me in a “tizzy” as my goddaughter says.  But, if we didn’t have to difficult with the difficulties in life, those “storm” – how would we appreciate it when the rainbow shows it’s beautiful self.  I know that this will pass and I’m thankful for the lesson I will learn as I’m going through it.

Today’s #flipclass #flashblog focuses on struggles in the classroom. So, I will pull my self out of this den of despair and share my thoughts on why, despite the fact that we despite it/them, struggles are a necessary part of life and therefore a necessary and integral part of my classroom.

I believe that children crave structure and discipline.  Despite their attempts the thwart and get over – they want to be in a safe and structured environment.  And despite their incessant whining – they appreciate being challenged.  The transition from elementary school to middle school is difficult.  No lie. But our kids grow up so much in these short few months.  I am so proud of so many of them.  They begin to take responsibility and ownership of their actions and their work.

On many of the creation projects they have, I don’t give a lot of direction.  I tell them to “figure it out” or say, “That’s a great question for Google!”  They do and they amaze, not only me, but themselves.

Sometimes I wonder how “the powers that be” decide upon what is appropriate grade level text.  Much of the text in our lit book is waaaaaay to hard for many of my students.  But they need the challenge, so I provide optional an audio version for them to use.

So they whine and complain….I laugh and ignore…..and support!  And when they succeed at something they thought they would NEVER be able to do – the grin on their faces makes my heart sing.  Because that’s what I live for…..their smiles.

Until the next time,