Thursday, March 4, 2010

That Workshop Book: Reflection 4

In That Workshop Book, Samantha Bennett says that we need to "think about how you want your days with children to begin and end." When we think about what we want our students to experience each morning when they walk in our room and each afternoon before they leave- we need to ask ourselves- what matters most? For me- that is the feeling of community. Students really love to know their opinions and ideas are valued. Samantha Bennett suggestions that the best way to go about valuing our students ideas and opinions is to ask for them. So I did just that. I asked them how they would like to start our school days. Prior to this, our morning routine varied (as it still will on occasion) with free learning time, reading workshop, quick checks for math, and/or word study activities. After checking with my kids, they overwhelmingly chose free learning time. Their reasons: 1. Although it is focused learning, they get to choose what that learning is based on their mood that day. 2. It is relaxing/No pressure. 3. They can leisurely get started after greeting friends and catching up on the prior night/weekend's events. How could I argue with this reasoning. And as I mention- after asking myself the same question about how I wanted our days to begin- I said "with a sense of community." Does the student's reasons support my feelings as well?? I love it when that happens. Although, we still have the occasional quick check, we spend most our mornings reading, writing, on the laptops, playing math games, creating, thinking, learning based on individual interests.

This week, the kids and I are going to rethink how we want to end our days together. Sometimes the end of our days feel so rushed that I leave the classroom feeling uneasy. I would love to find a way to end our time together each day on a calm note as a classroom family. Perhaps a family meeting discussing the days events?? I look forward to chatting with the kids about it as they always have such smart ideas to share.


Mary Lee said...

Beginnings and endings. Yup. With those bookends, so much is possible in the middle.

Karen said...

I do the same thing in the mornings -- I call it academic free choice. When the kids own that time, it is amazing what they can do! Most of my students choose to get out the laptops and work on their wikis since we have writing workshop at 9:15. But not all, and how powerful is that?

If you figure out the end of the day thing, I would love to know. There are many days that are wonderful, but I only remember those last crazy 10 minutes.