I believe that democratic practice in the classroom is essential to everything else that happens during the rest of the year. It has a huge impact on how well students get along, how much they like school, and their motivation for learning.
With democratic practice, every member of your learning community has a equal voice. We build the community and how it’s represented in the classroom from scratch at the beginning of the year. We begin by:
-Talking about genres and author series and organizing them,
-Analyzing the manipulatives we have for math and matching those against the standards will be addressing, and
-Assessing each students reading level and determining together which books would best support the student.
Eventually, what this grows into is full democratic practice where no subject is taboo and everything is on the table. This fair discourse where all ideas and feelings are honored helps us operate in a classroom that is continuously solving its own problems, both academic and social.
About Joan Hurley
Joan Hurley is a fifth grade teacher who has served urban and suburban children and their families for 26 years. She teaches for the Capitol Region...