Monday, May 21, 2012

Positively Powerful

Implement hunt for the positive mission- check.

Mondays.  Morning Meeting Day.  Well, it's supposed to be.  No one has actually ever told me this officially, nor have I been trained at all in it- so honestly, can't say I've done a bang up job with that this year.  But we had one TODAY.  We talked about how, during our guidance lesson last week, we had concentrated so much on the negative that we hadn't been able to think of anything good.  And we talked about the incessant tattling and how it drives ME - the Supreme Queen of the Classroom- absolutely bonkers. We made a chart about nice/kind things we could SAY to someone, and also nice/kind things we could DO for someone. I noticed that as far as saying kind things, they concentrated on physical attributes.  I like your shoes.  Your hair looks nice.  Your eyes are pretty.  And as far as doing anything, they were very much into helping someone pick up things that had fallen.  So, yeah, it was a moment of personal reflection on how I feel like I have failed in this area of character development.  I am going to have to figure out a way to really make this a priority next year, and do what I can for the kids I have now.

We took the conversation into what makes a person nice or kind on the inside, and made a little bit of headway there. I told them of my plan with the little notebooks, how they would use them to write down nice/kind things they saw a student in the class doing.  I said we would be spies and they'd have to keep it a secret who they got.

I had forgotten how 7/8 year olds don't actually know how to whisper.  They stage whisper.  Whole class can hear them.  I was reminded of a story a college friend once told me of her experience playing the board game Clue with a niece. "I have Professor Plum!" in the loudest stage whisper possible. And aside from the three or four who more or less blurted out the name they had drawn the moment the stick came out of the can- a handful had told somebody else who they had by lunch time, and then the rest announced it loudly at the end of the day when I asked to collect their findings. Ah well.  What's the harm in picking a new person to spy on everyday, right? There was a decrease in tattling though today.  Today it was only my top three tattlers that bothered to bring me bad news. And it was easy enough to tell them to turn that tattle into a hunt for something good, and not rest until they caught the person doing the right thing.  Can't say they were happy with the response, but at least they walked away and went about their business.

I found that during the day, it was easier for me to find moments where I could name a specific person and the specific act that they were doing that was worthy of being written down.  I like how Karen is showing you the right way to make a quality line.  Isn't Travis being an excellent model for how to read to self?  Looking over the notes that got handed in today though- we're still working in some generalities.  Abby is good. Sean is nice.  But you know, it just prepares tomorrow's quick meeting agenda.  Sharing out some positive praise ad talking about how we could get more specific with our compliment.  Adding on to the chart we're making.  Really looking at what makes an action a quality action in the classroom.

Quality actions?  It's a Baldridge thing.  Our school follows the Baldridge in Education format and I have to say, I kind of like it.  I like using the word quality.  Because it's different than trying to assign a moral reaction of good or bad to something.  It's another thing that I want to really develop better in my class next year.  I guess I sort of want to do everything better next year.  I started at the end of September and have so many new things to learn.  I am glad that they are all intriguing though.  And it seemed as if my decision to try to make my classroom more positive started to rub off into my work environment as well.  One of our wonderful secretaries Maria, pulled me aside to tell me that she thought it was important to tell me how much she seen me grow this year and be blessed and really take on my job.  It was a great moment for my memory to hold on to and keep me going- someone is noticing that I am trying to improve.  I think teachers, the creatures that we must be naturally to even want to take on a job like this, are always striving to improve: but we need that validation sometimes to keep the momentum.  Last week at our staff meeting, our most excellent Spanish teacher, Xinia, passed me a note telling me she'd noticed how much organizing had been going on in my room and that it was looking good.  Maybe everyone's hives will be short lived. Ha!

To-Do list challenge- I got 8 kids DRAs done today.  Well, first ones.  I am pleased to note that it looks like at least five of them need to move up a level from where I am currently instructing them, and this is very good news. Economics wise we began to make our Goods and Services jacket people, but they will not be finished until tomorrow- but I will take pictures.  The other four girls started it today and they all loved the book Roxaboxen.  If you haven't read it- you need to! It's a beautiful book.  And I have also come to the conclusion that I am not the one that should make the map.  There is absolutely no reason not to make it another voting endeavor in the community- and have each child construct their own- I may even have them work in small groups for it- and then have a vote for the best map. It needs to be student driven, and I need to let go of some control.

It was a good Monday.  I'm ready for an even better Tuesday.

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