Introduction to the Series
Effortless. Easy. Dynamic. Impactful. Game Changer!
How do you feel about students working independently in your classroom? Can you identify with the description above, or has your experience been totally different? What does independent practice mean to you and to the success of your students?
These are some of the questions I find myself asking teachers when working in their classrooms. The response is typically that of frustration, a matter of time, or getting students to really work during that time block. I can totally relate. Having taught kindergarten for many years, I know what it is like to be in the trenches of the classroom where we are concerned about our students’ future and overall wellbeing. Where we are performing a balancing act each day to meet our students’ needs, to keep them motivated, and to get the wanted results by the end of year assessment. Ultimately we want what is best for their learning wellbeing and what is most effective for our instructional practice. My ultimate question, therefore, is: how do I support teachers to effectively meet students’ individual needs?
What if I told you that there is an amazing and unutilized practice that is the answer to that question? What if I show you an amazing instructional practice that you already know and most likely do right now in your classroom? It has students working independently and collaboratively while you are in small group instruction. It’s called Independent Practice Block, also known as Independent Work, Workshop, Independent Learning Time, etc… This is the practice, but we are going to look at it differently.
In this series we will look at independent practice from several lenses for the purpose of understanding independent practice and small group instruction as critical instructional game-changer in the classroom. We will explore different types of practice, how to use practice and procedure to prepare students for working independently, how to move through each stage of independent practice, and what to do to insure success.
So let’s do this.
By: Terri Hamilton