Thursday, June 4, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate {What is a Student-Led Classroom?}

It's here, friends! This week we are off and running with our book study for Learn Like a Pirate! It is hosted by Amanda from The Primary Gal and will run for the next eight weeks! We are going to be linking up each Thursday to bring you the highlights from the chapters in this book! You'll be talkin', and have your kids talkin' like a Pirate in no time! 

Ok, so this book is really focused on student empowerment, collaboration, and leadership and less about saying "ar-matey" and getting those eye patches out! 

This week we are taking a look at the first section which is devoted to the student-led classroom. At first those words made me think, what?! I love leading my classroom. My instruction sets the tone for the day. I'm the example, the teacher, the one my students should be led by. Then, I started to think about what it is that I really want from my students, which is to be able to work together and to be problem solvers together. The truth is, they can't just look to me all of the time - I have to allow them to lead! 

Chapter one begins by stating, "A student-led classroom is one in which students make decisions and choices throughout the day without consulting the teacher." For those of us who are new to the teaching game, or even who have never used this technique, this can seem scary. I know! But, I have a gut feeling this book is going to help us teachers build a proper foundation for setting this teaching style up with our students.

Here is how Solarz says a typical lesson goes:

1. A component of teacher-led instruction such as a mini-lesson
2. Collaborative work time
3. Reflection time

That seems attainable! Right? One thing that stuck out to me when reading chapter one was Solarz's words, "The curricular objectives don't change - the method does." Why would we keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting our students and US as teachers to grow? We're not still using the rotary phone are we? So why would we still be lecturing students without allowing them to have have an "ample opportunity to guide and lead one another."

The last point that Solar makes, which is crucial, is that the student-led classroom does not happen overnight and that students must feel safe in order to connect to their peers and the teacher. Yes, we are always going to have those students who don't immediately trust us. Why should they? Often times we are strangers to them on the first day of school. As educators it is our responsibility to build trustworthy relationships with our students, who in turn, learn the ability to develop a trustworthy relationships with us and their peers. That is how the student-led classroom begins!

Thanks for stopping by, friends! I can't wait to talk all things chapter two next Thursday! Before you go, just remember that you can check out what my other blogging friends are saying about chapter one! Just follow the link-up! 


  1. " I started to think about what it is that I really want from my students, which is to be able to work together and to be problem solvers together" Right on!! :)

  2. I loved your post, Melissa! I agree 100% with your statement about how you love leading your classroom. I thought the same what would I do?!?! The more I read, the more I'm falling in love with students leading the room!

  3. You crack me up..."we aren't still using the rotary phone" We definitely need to keep changing and improving our classrooms, if only all teachers felt that way :)

    Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

  4. I love how you highlighted the issue of "trust". That really hit home for me, also! It really is important that we are models in showing how to build relationships! Loved your phone reference! I sure remember those!!
    Looking forward to reading your point of view next week!