Thursday, March 1, 2012

Slice of Life Day 1: Guiding Principles

For the 2010-2011 school year, I decided to take the year off from the classroom---so that I could write and be a newlywed. In retrospect, neither the writing nor the marriage worked so well, but I did have one grand opportunity that year. I was able to do some part time literacy consulting work with my friends at the Developmental Studies Center in Oakland, California. These educators and friends helped me to truly realize the power of both the academic and social growth of the child and the impact of intentional teaching around these two areas of development.
I’m back in the classroom (with sixth graders this year) and continue to learn from these wise and thoughtful colleagues at DSC, along with countless other amazing educators across the country so that I may give my students the best care and instruction I have to offer. I have embraced DSC’s guiding principles to do just that—guide me in the right direction when the pressure, the tests, the scripts, the scores, the mandates, “the pile-it-on, more is more” mentality weigh heavily on me. Here they are. Six key principles to help me to always do what’s right for children:

1. Build on Intrinsic Motivation
2. Build an Inclusive Learning Community
3. Integrate Academics with Social and Ethical Learning
4. Set up the Learning Situation so the Students do the Thinking
5. Provide Academic Rigor and Accessibility
6. Advance Teacher Practice

More tomorrow about how these principles have come to life in our classroom this year…

As my wonderful principal, Phyllis Faust, says to us every day…
To the possibilities……


  1. Love this! And as I was reading your key principles I was thinking - I want to know more about these. How glad I was to see you are writing more tomorrow. :)

  2. Looking forward to learning more tomorrow! What a wonderful way to start the SOL.

  3. Thanks for sharing AM. First 2 are bigger than HUGE. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on those.

  4. Oh I am so excited to see this slice and see your blog. I am a huge fan, and am so looking forward to learning more from you and your slices.
    First Grade @ Klinger Cafe

  5. I am embarrassed to say I didn't know about the DSC until you blogged about it here. With these principles as their guiding light, it seems like a group I would love. I can't wait to hear more about your thinking regarding each principle. What's right for children is a great goal to have!! Thanks for continuing to push my thinking!

  6. Glad your doing SOL Challenge! Looking forward to the possibilities!

  7. Ann Marie,
    I'm always happy to see your blog pop up in my reader. Looking forward to hearing more about these guiding principles.


  8. Ann Marie, I feel so lucky to be reading your slices. Can't wait to see all I learn from you this month. Thanks for joining us,

  9. Thanks, friends for your encouraging comments. I'm about to write again while watching the weather....tornadoes again today in AL. Ugh!

  10. Ann Marie,
    I hope we can meet someday :) We have some life experiences in common and also share a few good friends!
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!