Integrating social-emotional learning into your classroom is necessary and practical, writes eighth-grade teacher, book author, and NBCT Amber Chandler, in a time when “loads of research tells us that kinder, gentler classrooms are better learning environments.”
Category: The Flexible Classroom
Amber Chandler’s blog
Not all educators and parents are ready to trust Artificial Intelligence, writes Amber Chandler, but to fully participate in the lives of our students and our children, we need to go where they are. Not only is AI very real to them, it’s also where the future awaits.
Amber Chandler introduces her rising 7th grade daughter Zoey to share “five things I wish people told me about going to middle school.” Perspective is everything, as Zoey demonstrates, with some advice she urges sixth grade teachers to share with their new students.
Amid the mix of emotions and preoccupations that crowd end-of-year school days, Amber Chandler takes time to discover how her 8th graders ranked her five major ELA units this year. What they think will help her prepare for next fall. Once she returns from the lake!
How much pre-teaching and context-building should teachers do when they teach novels from other cultural eras? How much is too much in a discovery-based classroom? Amber Chandler’s students helped her find the right balance as they experienced The Outsiders.
Fresh from her middle school’s Falcon Pride Day, Amber Chandler celebrates the joy of a pre-Spring Break event that’s one part competition, one part team building, and one part controlled chaos, noting that kids’ SEL needs are at least as important as curriculum.
As spring temperatures rise (and testing begins), students and teachers start to get antsy. What can we do to make end-of-year more productive and enjoyable while also saving our sanity? After 17 springs in the classroom, Amber Chandler has three ideas that may help relieve the jitters.
Traditional conferencing isn’t a good fit for Amber Chandler’s project-based classroom. She uses a version of “unconferencing” that provides flexible student support, with help available from both teacher and classmates. A detailed example explains the process.
Opening your classroom door to families for student presentations can be intimidating. Think gas leaks, mumbled swear words and flop sweat, says Amber Chandler. But it can also be the ultimate learning and bonding experience among families, students, and teachers.
Amber Chandler is pondering testing. Not big league, high stakes exams but the run of the mill end-of-unit kind. When 20 percent of her students stumble over literary terms on The Giver unit test, she opts for a flexible (but controversial) “point buy-back” offer.