Saturday, January 7, 2017

"Stop and Reboot"

It's January.......

Dear Readers,

I hope the New Year finds you all well! 

Over the past few years, I have found that in January my students and I need to come back together as a classroom community and "reboot" (as I call it) as we prepare for the second semester. 

We are not quite half way through the year at this point, the holidays and vacations are over for a while and the end of the year is not in sight. My middle school students struggle with this time of year, especially 7th grade for some reason.

This past Thursday I had them reflect.

1. Write down what you experience as you come into the classroom. What you see and hear, positive and negative. They took a few moments and independently jotted down a list. 

2. After that, I asked them go back and star/circle/highlight what contributes to a positive classroom community and learning environment. They also did this independently.

3. Then I asked them to reflect on their contribution to the learning environment. These were personal, not to be shared, so I encouraged them to be honest with themselves. 

4. Finally, I had them set a personal goal based on their reflection. Was there something they could work on to be a more productive member of our classroom community? Was there something they should continue? Was there something they would like to add?

Then on Friday, I gave them additional ownership of our classroom and increased student roles.

  • Attendance Officers: responsible for taking daily attendance, then handing it over to me to input into the computer.
  • Jr. Trailblazers: help me with technology, responsible for turning the projector on/off.
  • Librarians: responsible for checking in books and shelving them, in addition to maintaining the check-out notebook and updating books in display racks.
  • Green and Clean Crew: responsible for making sure room is picked up before leaving.
  • Flexible Seating Team: responsible for creating, managing and maintaining a system to distribute seating options (for example: yoga balls).
  • Anchors of Appreciation Team: responsible for creating, managing and maintaining our anchors (for example: what the content will be, who will receive them, how often)
  • Building Our Reading Lives Bulletin Board: responsible for gathering titles read, adding to board, maintaining and managing goals and progress
  • Date/Quote of the Day: responsible for changing the date and adding the quote of the day from 365 Days of Wonder

Friday was an extremely productive and building relationships kind of day. Sometimes we have to set aside the academics and come together as a community. It is so essential in building a foundation of respect, trust and safety.

I have also enjoyed creating our snowflake display. The students have come up with amazing words, quotes and ideas. 

My students are amazing individuals. I am honored to be their teacher.