Steve Reifman

Steve Reifman

Empowering Moments (3rd in an Occasional Series):

We are all familiar with the expression “teachable moment” that refers to those times in class when something happens that offers us an opportunity to impart a valuable lesson to our students. Recently, I first heard the expression “learnable moment,” which basically refers to these same opportunities, but focuses on what the children are gaining, rather than what the teachers are sharing. I love both of these expressions, but I have to say that I prefer the latter because of its emphasis on the student’s perspective.

In this blog series I introduce the expression “Empowering Moment.” An Empowering Moment is a classroom occurrence that affords teachers the opportunity to develop character, foster independence, and build students’ capacity for the future.

Empowering Moments (2nd in an Occasional Series):

We are all familiar with the expression “teachable moment” that refers to those times in class when something happens that offers us an opportunity to impart a valuable lesson to our students. Recently, I first heard the expression “learnable moment,” which basically refers to these same opportunities, but focuses on what the children are gaining, rather than what the teachers are sharing. I love both of these expressions, but I have to say that I prefer the latter because of its emphasis on the student’s perspective.

In this blog series I introduce the expression “Empowering Moment.” An Empowering Moment is a classroom occurrence that affords teachers the opportunity to develop character, foster independence, and build students’ capacity for the future.

Empowering Moments (1st in an Occasional Series):

We are all familiar with the expression “teachable moment” that refers to those times in class when something happens that offers us an opportunity to impart a valuable lesson to our students. Recently, I first heard the expression “learnable moment,” which basically refers to these same opportunities, but focuses on what the children are gaining, rather than what the teachers are sharing. I love both of these expressions, but I have to say that I prefer the latter because of its emphasis on the student’s perspective.

In this blog series I introduce the expression “Empowering Moment.” An Empowering Moment is a classroom occurrence that affords teachers the opportunity to develop character, foster independence, and build students’ capacity for the future.

Wrapping Up This Blog SeriesOver the past couple months I have described various ways in which I try to establish a sense of purpose with my students so that they understand why committing themselves to academic pursuits matters and so that they find their work meaningful and relevant to their present and future lives. Specifically, there are four main tools I use to try to establish purpose.

The first is the classroom aim, a topic I focused on during Parts 2 and 3 in this series. Because the aim establishes a group’s highest priorities, drives decisions, and determines goals, it is the starting point in our efforts to establish purpose. In his book Improving Student Learning: Applying Deming’s Quality Principles in Classrooms, Superintendent Lee Jenkins describes the aim as the bull’s-eye of the organizational target.


Introduction to This Blog Series:  Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Throughout this blog series I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.

This week:  Promoting Important Habits of Character (Part 9 of the Series)   

Over the past few weeks I have described three main benefits of having a class mission statement: 1) its ability to help teachers connect daily learning activities to important future purposes, 2)  a mission statement enables teachers to establish an expectation level for student work, effort, and behavior, 3) a mission statement helps teachers build a confident mindset in our students. This week I wrap up my paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of this year’s class mssion statement by highlighting a fourth benefit: a mission statement enables teachers to emphasize valuable habits of character.


Introduction to This Blog Series:  Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Throughout this blog series I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.

 

This week: Building a Confident Mindset in Our Students (Part 8 of the Series)   

Over the past couple weeks I have described two benefits of a class mission statement: 1) its ability to help teachers connect daily learning activities to important future purposes, 2)  a mission statement enables teachers to establish an expectation level for student work, effort, and behavior.

Introduction to This Blog Series:  Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Throughout this blog series I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.

 

This week: Raising the Bar (Part 7 of the Series)   

Introduction to This Blog Series:  Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Throughout this blog series I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.

 


Using The Class Mission Statement to Connect the Present to the Future (Part 6 of the Series):  One of the primary benefits of a class mission statement is its ability to help teachers connect daily learning activities to important future purposes. By making this connection, we can help students find greater meaning in their work and better understand why committing themselves to educational pursuits is so vital.

Introduction to This Blog Series:  Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Throughout this blog series I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.

 


Using The Class Mission Statement As a Powerful Reference Point (Part 5 of the Series):  Last week I introduced the new class mission statement my students and I wrote a few weeks ago and started to analyze and describe it. Originally, I was planning to spend only one week on this topic, but because I enjoyed writing the post so much and felt there was so much value in sharing the thinking that goes into creating an effective mission statement, I wanted to keep this discussion going for a little while.

Introduction to This Blog Series:  Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Over the next several weeks I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.

 


The Most Powerful Move Teachers Can Make to Establish a Sense of Purpose in the Classroom (Part 4 of the Series):  Once you have chosen your Overall Classroom Aim (see Parts 2 and 3 of this Blog Series), the next step in the process of establishing a sense of purpose with your students is to create a class mission statement so that you can refer to it throughout the year for guidance, support, and inspiration. Writing a class mission statement and revisiting it with your students frequently is the single most powerful move teachers can make to establish a sense of purpose.