While everyone else is back to school, trying to learn not only new names and faces, but also new personalities and learning needs, ACSR is working to find new ways to support you in your efforts to meet the real life challenge of creating a Critical Skills classroom. A group of teachers from the Critical Skills Concentration in our Experienced Educator’s Program have put together some suggestions for getting started. If this is your first year, your goal should be to experiment with the model and see how it works for you and your students. Start small, try things out, build on successes, and problem solve around challenges. If your more experienced, try to push yourself to make your challenges more complex, messier and less well defined.
Remember, there is no one “right” way to use Critical Skills. It is less about any single practice and more about creating a learning environment that supports student learning, makes expectations clear, values diversity, and includes students as much as possible in the decisions and actions of the learning community.
This poster describes the The Characteristics of the Critical Skills Classroom. Post it near your desk and check in each day to see how you’re doing. Reflect, celebrate and plan! The tools labels are designed to be placed at random in your calendar or you lesson plan book as hints of tools and strategies to facilitate student success. We hope each note will be a reminder of the wealth of strategies at your disposal to help you achieve your desired learning results. The large labels offer you Critical Skills in a nutshell- keep them handy as a quick reference in planning and reflection. (Each of these links will take you to a new page, which will offer a single link for downloading the file.)
You will also find these materials- along with the challenge and tools banks on our website in the next few days.