Perkiomen Valley School District Annual Report 2016-17 Annual Report 2016-17 | Page 11

Students Drive the Learning in First-Grade Class at Evergreen For Evergreen Elementary School teacher Alexandra Amoroso, taking a “student-centered” approach to learning means making every instructional decision with students in mind. She considers where students are now, and where they need to go next when determining what her lesson plans will be for the day. such as using manipulatives for math lessons, and she offers them choices regularly. For example, students choose reading centers and their independent reading books. Miss Amoroso wants her students to feel like they are part of a community when they enter her classroom. She uses a number of different “Everything I do in terms of teaching - my choices strategies to build that community over time. are driven by students’ current understandings,” One is engaging students right away when they she said. start their day by having a morning meeting. On Evergreen Elementary School students use manipulatives for Mondays, students get to share their “weekend If she notices that her first-graders aren’t “getting” a math lesson in Miss Alexandra Amoroso’s class. news.” In the beginning of the school year, a concept through small group or whole group instruction, she will adjust her students are invited to write their own “class rules” for behavior expectations. teaching. This often means she is modifying her plans, but she believes it is Miss Amoroso reads a story that prompts students to think about manners and important as she strives to meet the varying needs of all students. respect, and then asks them for their rule suggestions. She builds enthusiasm by allowing students to choose the rules and by writing their suggestions down on Miss Amoroso also believes it is important for students to take ownership of a chart to display. their learning and invites them to do so in a variety of ways. Opportunities are extended frequently to students to “teach” one another. Whenever possible, Parents have commented that her classroom is different from what they she invites students to share their work and explain to their classmates how experienced as students, but she thinks that there are many benefits to the they accomplished a particular assignment. classroom changing from one where the teacher is the expert all the time. “I have them model their thinking as much as possi