Talking…I learn by talking! Who knew?!?! The thing that got me in trouble in elementary school was the thing that transformed my adult life in graduate school! Instead of sitting in lectures, taking notes, and grinding out papers, I was encouraged to work with others in groups to present to others what we got out of our readings in class. Instead of one or two all important papers I was asked to reflect weekly – to write half page papers to express what I found useful out of the readings! Instead of being berated for getting off topic, I had professors who saw the value of discussing issues critical to our lives and tied it in with the focus and purpose of the coursework. I had professors who created a sense of belonging in night classes I had to drive long distances to get to after teaching all day…I experienced the power of belonging…in a classroom. I now use Responsive Classroom in my 5th grade class to work on creating a sense of belonging and I teach it in the college class I now teach to help students experience the learning that transformed my life.

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