Sunday, April 7, 2013

Guest Blogger- Carmen with Quantum Learning & Classroom Community

It's Saturday and today I have a real treat for you... Carmen from Exploring Third Grade with a GREAT post about community building by creating a HOME COURT ADVANTAGE in the classroom.  This is a phenomenal post, especially at this time of the year when everyone's looking to the end!  Thanks for being here, Carmen... I hope ya'll will show her some love!

Hello Everyone!
I am Carmen, third grade teacher (soon to be 4th grade) from

I live in the great state of KANSAS and we LOVE our basketball here! It is a fun time when KU, KSTATE, and WSU all make it into the NCAA tournament. Since my third graders have basketball on the brain I thought I would visit with you about a topic that I am passionate about: Creating a Home Court Advantage in my classroom! 

The school district I work in has embraced the Quantum Learning philosophy of teaching. There are so many different aspects of QL that are AMAZING. My favorite idea is "Home-Court Advantage."

Home court advantage is just what it sounds like-when a sports team plays in their home town on their own field or court, they have a statsitical advantage. There is a tremendous amount of research that has been done on this.

Quataum learning suggests that "Home court advantage is a powerful psychological tool that creates feelings of safety, support, and belonging on the sports field as well as in the classroom. Students in classrooms where home court advantage has been established are more likely to take risks, participate, and ask and answer questions. At a time when many teachers are pressed to achieve common core standards, establishing a home court advantage in classrooms is a powerful step toward encouraging and reinforcing more effective thinking, discussions and collaboration." (Quataum Learning, 2009) 

There are many things that a teacher can do to create that home court advantage in their classroom in terms of belonging, safety, and support. Here are few things we are doing in my classroom (3Z) to provide that Home Court Advantage! 


We have just started our 4th quarter (how is that possible?), during our class meeting we created an anchor chart on what "Home Court Advantage" looks like!

Along with our anchor chart we rearranged our desks into teams to support that home court advantage! Each team picked a College/University that they wanted to represent during March Madness, they made a poster and used the IPADS to research what the school's  team cheer is! I hung up their posters above their desks and we will use the team cheers throughout the next few weeks!

Students working on the University/College research
Don't you just love the green hat? 


My third graders were struggling a bit with speaking with good purpose to each other. We may use kind words, but we say them in a negative way or in a tone that shows no respect at all. We read tons of books about kindness in action, one of my favorites is The Kindess Quilt! I realized that the kids needed a chance to see kindness in action and they themselves needed to help create kindness not only in our classroom, but around the school. We spent two weeks working on Random Acts of Kindness.  We brainstormed what we could do at school and we also used Lesson Plan SOS's wonderful Kindness Matters packet. This focus on RAKS changed our classroom culture! Now when someone is having a rough day I might find that someone has secretly written then a note and left it on their desk to encourage them. As we are reading a children's book a student will say, "Miss Z that is just like our RAKS!" I also am hearing such kind words of encouragement given. "Miss Z Caleb is doing such a great job today!" "Did you know that Brady passed his 12's test?" By providing a space for students to GIVE....our classroom became a SAFE PLACE for learning and friendship!


As teachers we want ALL of our students to feel a strong sense of support not only from us, but from their peers, and other staff members. I wanted to focus on some classroom acheivement goals that were not always realted to behavior, but also academics. I wanted students to see that we were working together as a TEAM on our academics not just as individuals. I searched high and low for an idea of how to do this and I was so blessed to find the AMAZING Kristine Nannini from Young Teacher Love. Kristine has created a set of Data Binders for math that are algined to Common Core. Students are tracking how they are doing for EACH standard in math in the form of a pre-test and a post-test. We post our class average on the pre-test and then start working on learning what the standard requires. We then post our class average on the post-test! Since the math curriculum that we use is a spiral. There is usually a couple of months between our pre and post test. It is SO MUCH FUN to watch the students   not only track their own data and make goals based off of it, but also make suggestions based off our class data. For example, we were looking at where we were as a class on mastering our multiplication facts. We realized that we have a lot of students that are on their 6's. The class decided that the students who have passed their 6's already would become mentors to the students who are working on their 6's or under. We we will spend 15 mins each day this week working in pairs and our goal is that we will have an 85% success rate when students take the test on Thursday. I love the SUPPORT I am seeing all because of looking at DATA with the kids! It is very empowering for me and my students.

Good luck teacher friends! What a great honor we have to help kids each and everyday!


  1. LOVED reading your blog post, Carmen!! Our kids are so blessed by your skill as a teacher. You're a 'game-changer' and have provided many opportunities for your students and teaching peers to learn strategies for success! As teachers, we never fully realize where the ripples will lead from our students' experiences . . . and our experiences as teachers! I'm so grateful to be a 'ripple' from your time at EES!

  2. Oh Louise! Thank you so much for your comment! You are wonderful!

  3. Wow....this is just what I need. I have students who do need to have that kindness (not just words) modeled and modeled for them. Thanks

    1. thanks so much for stopping by! Glad this was helpful for you!


  4. Carmen- This is a wonderful post! I LOVE these ideas about Quantum Learning, how have I never heard of this?! THANK YOU for sharing! I am SO glad that you have seen success with my student data tracking binders in your classroom. I LOVE hearing that they are working for other teachers! You are SUCH a wonderful teacher and I am sure your students feel safe and welcome in your classroom everyday!

    Young Teacher Love 5th Grade Blog

    1. you are soo kind! :) Glad I could share with you something new!! You would be a master at QL! Have you ever heard of SuperCamps? It is all QL!

      :) Carmen

    2. I have not! I will have to read up on these goodies!


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