Today’s post kicks-off The Sacred Profession’s weekly classroom tour. Each week I will post an interview with and a photo tour of an awesome teacher’s classroom. To start the series off, we’ve got a teacher who I’ve written about before – Ms. Corroy. To you faithful readers (a.k.a. my mother . . . maybe?) who are wondering if I’m obsessed with Jenny let me be clear: I’m not obsessed with Jenny, I’m enamoured with her.
Ms. Corroy welcomes you to her classroom!
Where do you teach? IDEA Donna College Preparatory in Donna, Texas
Who are your students? My students are 12th graders in their second year of the IB Diploma Programme. They are predominately lower-income, Hispanic students living in the Rio Grande Valley.
What do you teach? Language A English at the Higher Level (an advanced English Literature course)
“Rocking the paper lanters WITH lights in them as well! I haven’t turned my overhead lights on yet this year. It seems dark but actually you get used to the light pretty quickly and students can clearly see. It also casts a nice sun-set glow on everyone in the room.”
“This is the entrance to the room. The sunburst above the door represents the four major assessments my students will take this year. Every time they complete an exam I will have them place a sticker of their choice on the sunburst thus marking our progress towards earning college credit. Last year, I cut this up into little pieces and framed one for each of my students; some even took it with them to college! Notice the print of Abbie Hoffman above my classroom library – it was made by one of my students last year and says “What is your identity as a learner?” Students pick up papers at the table to the right of the door as they come in.”
“On top of one of my shelves I have a “Shrine to Myself” with my diplomas, certifications, awards, and other special items – like the Wisconsin Badger. This shows students how seriously I take teaching as well as revealing a little of who I am personally.”
Describe your teaching style in one word. Responsive
What is your go-to literacy strategy? Color-marking a text to annotate it
How do you motivate your students? (see below)
“This is a get-to-know-you strategy I use at the beginning of the year. Students write whatever they want for me to read in the top boxes and I write back to them in the bottom box. They ask me random questions, I ask them questions, and we get to know each other on a low-risk yet one-on-one basis without spending too much time outside of class.”
“Every day as students leave my classroom they give a high-five to the yellow hand if they ____. Today it was “I am ready to stay organized” and everyday I change what is written on the white board below the yellow hand. This is a fun way to sometimes check for understand as well as give a last minute reminder as students leave the classroom.”
What is your favorite way to check for understanding? Fist-to-five to gauge reaction. I like it because I can see the spread of responses and quickly differentiate. I often use this to allow students to self-identify the level of support they need from me.
“I put one of those book display shelves for elementary classes on top of a table to make the station where students grab papers everyday. I also posted reminders so that if they’ve forgotten something they can run to their locker quickly before class begins. Notice the continuation of my orange and yellow color scheme . . . as well as my class slogans. Independence of thought, analysis of literature, precision of language.”