My company, Blueprints for Learning, currently has early literacy projects in more than a dozen inner city schools in the northeast (US). One critical difference I find in effective primary grade classrooms is that these classrooms have been established by their teachers for learner independence.
These rooms hum with meaningful learning.
At these schools and in these classrooms, children learn well and independently (no waiting for the teacher) due to:
- daily and known routines that are developmentally appropriate,
- appropriate and available materials,
- managed choice of tasks and texts ,
- sustained opportunities for critical feedback from teacher, peers, and in connected classrooms--a wider audience
In exemplary classrooms, teachers are also leveraging the power of connected learning and their learners are using handheld devices to connect with others, produce and consume texts in order to develop foundational literacy skills, dispositions, and strategies.
We are finding that a critical first step is to design and enact learning spaces where independence can be realized.