At the center of learning is the child, the family, and the teacher. To be a successful educator, we must commit ourselves to build powerful relationships, not only with students, but also with their families and the teams of educators we work with. I strive to uphold this in every decision I make as a professional.
"What [Mr. Grahl] did for [his students] was engage them, respect them and hold them to high standards. He has reached out to and connected with them as individuals... [My son] is learning how to give and earn respect. He’s learning how to work as part of a community. I feel very confident that Mr. Grahl is invested in helping bring out all the greatness that my child has inside of him."
-Dr. Julie Jones
Parent of three at Cahoon Elementary Magnet School
Students learn through multi-modal communication of and about ideas. Teaching students how to communicate thoughts and evaluate positions provides students with agency in the classroom and centers learning around peer-to-peer interactions.
Increasing the depth and frequency of academic peer-to-peer discussions has been a central goal in my teaching this year.
Explicit interactive modeling and discussion stems immersed my students in the genre of academic discussion. This scaffolding allowed all students to use and understand accountable talk across subjects.
By establishing a culture of academic discussion in which all participants consistently held one another accountable dramatically increased the frequency of rich discussions in my classroom.
Vocabulary rich environments level the playing field for students of all knowledge backgrounds. Consistently engaging students in learning opportunities that focus on developing and using new vocabulary increases all students' access to not only content but the world around them.
For example, a routine in my science classroom is 5 day vocabulary. Each week we focus on 3-4 essential words that are relevant to the content. At the beginning of daily science instruction, students create Frayer Models, draw pictures, invent hand gestures, use the words in authentic writing contexts, and even mold clay to represent the words.