We worked so hard today. Today was NOT Alexander’s Terrible day. We just worked our brains and worked our brains. I did start to give out my incentive tickets yesterday afteroon. I have to just give the students, and me, grace. Yeah, sure. It would be wonderful if everyone was intrinsically motivated to do their work. But the truth is, we all like feedback and rewards specific to who we are and what we have done. Adults like feedback, because, well…we like to get paid.
They earned their tickets for working hard, for being a PAX Leader (this is what we call a self-manager/mentor type person in our new social/emotional, behavior curriculum (PAX) and for keeping themselves “together.” I did not give them to everyone. I did not just give them to a kid to make them work. They really had to earn it. And it felt really good to see my students really pushing themselves. They started to appreciate their hard work, and seemed to appreciate the feedback just as much as the reward. Or maybe I’m fooling myself, but I’m ok with this.
I felt motivated today, too. I have been really doing great at the think ahead/plan ahead/read said plans/put it into action thing. Please do not misunderstand. I am a very planful and structured teacher. But I have historically kept my plans in my head.
I think being told “this is how everyone has to do it,” and using Planbook, has helped me to work toward a personal goal of organization and planning.
The Ruby Bridges project I designed for them on SeeSaw is going well, but it has become very clear how hard it is for many of my students to write sentences. When I was prepping this afternoon I knew I had to pivot. Tomorrow we’re going to be doing several activities to help with that.
I’m going to back off on doing narrative writing in the form of stories for a bit. It’s our fall trimester benchmark, and they have to do it, but they are really just not ready. They’re also very self-conscious about spelling. I’m going to focus on writing amazing sentences. Like blow me away, blow me down sentences. Tomorrow we’ll do a GLAD Sentence Patterning Chart, and we’re going to do a story card game. I miraculously found one on TPT for $6 and it’s 100% worth it. I’ll give them each their own character, problem, setting and ask them to write amazing sentences. BUT I’LL ONLY let THEM WRITE SENTENCES. Maybe…just maybe…this will increase urgency to write. I’ll do it tomorrow and Monday, and we’ll see how it goes.
Additionally, we’re going to be word sleuths. We will be Expand Vocabulary gurus and look for cool words. We will write lists of amazing words. We will create personal glossaries. They need some equipment in their tool boxes to help them get to the narrative writing.
So here we go, get ready for Sentence Writing BOOTCAMP!
Cross your fingers for me.
I say cross your fingers, because I worry that I spend all this time prepping and planning and all this deep thinking about what they need, and that it will just fall flat. I’m my own classroom Pedagogista. If you don’t know that term, it is a term coined by the Reggio Emilia municipal schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Here’s a job description for an ideal job for me as one. I wish I wish I wish I could have been trained by their teacher training program. I have been to seminars with Lella Gandini, and that’s as close as I’ve ever gotten. Ok, I also did go to Reggio Emilia when I went to Italy in 1998, but the schools were closed as was their resource center. I stalked the Diana school and looked around its grounds like a funny American.
Lella is a huge advocate for play and constructivism. That’s a link for an article interviewing her about play. Constructivism and play is also my wheelhouse. It’s the air I breathe and the way I understand children. So yes, sisters, I am tooting my own horn for a minute. I’m watching what my students need to learn and how they need to learn it, and I am adapting my teaching to fit what they need. This way of thinking about learning, of students, their parents, and of teachers is 100% how I see education.
An essential element for positive learning and teaching in the Reggio
Emilia approach is to view children and teachers as endowed with strong
potential, ready to enter into relationships, ready to be listened to, and
eager to learn. Once we value children and teachers this way, teaching cannot be done only through imparting information, but rather, it has to be
an experience in which teachers and learners construct learning together.
Teachers have the task of giving orientation, meaning, and value to the
experience of schools and children.
-Lella Gandini, American Journal of Play, Summer 2011
I mean. She’s the best. I heart her.
Namaste, teaching wizards.
We can do hard things.