Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Joyful Classroom

We have a version of PLC's every week. The main focus is our data. How many words per minute are the kids reading (our goal for the end of Kinder is 40). How many high frequency words can they read? Are they adding yet? In my class I prefer to count off other kinds of progress my students have made. My class got 7 new students that were transferred from other classes 4 weeks into the school year this year. This made for a pretty stressful class dynamic. I suddenly had more behavior issues to deal with (my administrators let the teachers decide which students they wanted moved out). Students who would say unkind things to each other completely unprovoked every day. Students were stealing from each other, laughing when someone fell down.

I read them lots of stories about kids making the choice to be kind. We learned about bucket fillers and once a week in their writing stations they can write them to each other. I consciously complimented when the students did nice things for each other. I modeled for them what they could do instead of being mean. If someone fell I immediately would ask äre you ok".  And slowly, positivity began to take over.

I wanted to do something fun and joyful for them when we returned from the break. I know a lot of teachers complain about having to come back and the students hear that attitude and often adopt it for their own. I wanted them to know how excited I was to come back and to see them again. So I did a very last-minute decoration job on our class.

When we came back from break, I saw a student help another open a trash bag he was having trouble with. I heard them tell each other that they missed their friends. I heard them complimenting each other's work. I rarely have to deal with mean behavior at all anymore. It's something that can never be measured by data and will never get recognized by my administrators-but to me, that's HUGE progress!!! I will continue to give them the tools to be nice to each other and whether they can read 40 words per minute by the end of the year or not-to me, that is a success that I am proud of.

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  1. What you do for those students is way more important than the "data." There is no way to quantify all of the amazing ways you have affected those kids.

  2. This kind of growth is worth celebrating!