My 5 words

If you had to choose five words to describe your class, what would they be? -Dave Burgess

This question was posed the other evening during planning for our World Languages Teach Like a Pirate chat, and it intrigued me.  How could I possibly narrow down my class to five words?  It was not easy, but I focused on what I would like my students to take away at the end of the year.  Here we go…

I respect the learners in my classroom for who they are.  I get to know them, meet them where they are, and show them how to improve.  Respectful tasks, honest feedback, and reflection will be a part of each day.  Everyone will have a voice in the classroom.

Everyone is in charge of their learning.  When I give the ownership of learning to the students, they exceed my expectations.  I have to set the stage for learning, and let them go!   Students must learn to make decisions, even if it means making a few poor ones (opportunities to learn) along the way.  I will model learning, but not dictate the process.
We will express our passions this year through genius hour.  I am passionate about Spanish and student centered learning.  I will help my students find their passion, look at it through the lens of Spanish, and then figure out how their passion can change the world. 
As Starr Sackstein wrote in her blog, we must manifest positivity.  There is too much negativity in our world, especially concerning schools and education.  I will be a positive influence everyday for my students.  I will show them what happens when your life’s work is not just a job, but a passionate profession.  Enthusiasm is contagious, and I am ready to share it.
My students must know that we share the experience.  We are all learners, traveling together.  I like to see it as a messy trip with lots of stops, and frequent questions that lead us all to new learning. There is no guided tour with a prescribed script, just some destinations with multiple ways to arrive.

What are your five words?

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  1. katiekate2 July 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM - Reply

    I’ve been mulling this over since I saw the original twitter re-post you sent through. A bit of overlap in terms/concepts, but not all. I’ve landed on Caring, Intentional, Passionate, Relational, and Challenging.

    Something you said to me YEARS ago, has always rattled around in my head: “I love being known as a teacher who challenges my students.” I know that I do just that, but whenever a kid complements me on that challenge I think of you. However, I know that students actually appreciate the challenge because of the first four adjectives, and without Caring, Intentional engagement, Passion and relationship the willingness to be challenged would NEVER be appreciated, as it often is by my students. (I just got another thanks-for-challenging-me-and-look-at-how-successful-it-made-me letter yesterday.)

    Love the thoughts!

    • Garnet Hillman July 26, 2013 at 9:01 PM - Reply

      Thanks so much for the comments, Kate. I love talking “shop” with you; you have inspired me so much over the years! We can both take pride in the fact that our students love a challenge and we make sure they get it. There is a fine line between appropriate challenge and over a student’s head, and you walk that line beautifully. Always appreciate your support!

  2. Sue Alexander July 14, 2013 at 6:30 PM - Reply

    What a thoughtful and inspiring post. I’d meant to do this after the #TLAP chat, but life got in the way. Hard as I might have tried, I couldn’t have created a better list. Your words will be guiding me as I plan for next year. Thank you.

    • Garnet Hillman July 26, 2013 at 8:58 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much Sue! I am going to try to make sure to look at this post often throughout the next school year. Too many times it is easy to lose focus on what is important. These are my goals and I must keep them at the forefront!

  3. Shannon Ossinger July 14, 2013 at 1:13 PM - Reply

    This is a fantastic post. Thank you for giving me a great task for the first day of school with my grade sixes. Maybe later on with my Frenchies as well
    You have moat definitely inspired me. This fits in so well with the 7 Habits and The Leader In Me.

    Shannon @MmePoulet

    • Garnet Hillman July 26, 2013 at 8:56 PM - Reply

      Thanks Shannon, I would also like to use this as an end of the year activity with my kids and see what they say. Appreciate the comments!

  4. Bethanie July 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM - Reply

    As I read this section of Teach Like a Pirate, and again as I read this post, one of the thoughts that struck me was, “what would the students select as their 5 words?” and “what would they choose as their 5 words for how they feel their classes generally are?”. I think walking through those questions together as a class could yield some intriguing results.

    • Garnet Hillman July 14, 2013 at 11:44 AM - Reply

      I absolutely agree and am giving some thought to using this as part of my student reflection. Thanks for reading and your thoughts Bethanie!

  5. Starr Sackstein July 14, 2013 at 7:55 AM - Reply

    Thanks for the shout out, Garnet! I love this post. I think that many of my 5 words would be the same, but I will think about it more… I think you just inspired my next post. I wish you lived closer so that we could collaborate in person. We have so much in common!

    Btw, “manifest positivity” is on my left arm… it was like my 3rd tattoo. It’s a daily reminder to be a part of the solution!
    Thanks for writing this.

    • Garnet Hillman July 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM - Reply

      I wish we lived closer as well, thank goodness for twitter! I can’t wait to read your five words 🙂 Thanks as always for reading and commenting Starr.

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