So we did it. Remember last week when I explained our most recent class meeting? Well, the class meeting that we wanted to have with the rest of our grade happened this afternoon.
Even with 80 people in the room, we tried to follow the same class meeting protocol that we normally use. We used a general flipchart list, since each 5th grade does things a little differently, but still put dots for things they liked and things they learned the most from during the week. After those two rounds, our chart looked like this:
I loved how all those dots around “Weather Unit” ended up looking a little bit like a cloud. Most of us started a big storm project in science this week (which I’ll write about soon!), and our kids are really jazzed about it.
Normally round three would be based on the question “What do you want to talk about?,” but in this case, we had gathered to discuss recess, so we didn’t need that one. We started into the problem solving phase of our meeting, after laying a few ground rules:
As they shared their concerns about what was going wrong, we made a list of what was mentioned. After our 5 minutes was up, our list had some pretty yucky stuff on it like people being left out, some kids being rejected when they ask to play, arguing, poor sportsmanship, pushing and shoving, interrupting games just to be funny, and worrying about who’s popular and who’s not.
We spent some time trying to problem solve around this topic, which proved to be pretty difficult with such a large group. Kiddos explained what they meant about how some thought they were more popular than others and wouldn’t let them play or tried to show off and always be the best at every game they played. We all agreed that our behavior did not match up with what we know to be true about Robinson’s 5th grade–that we are leaders, and that we support each other and rally around causes to help make everyone better. We agreed that this was not ok.
The teachers did a little more in this meeting that we normally would–again because of logistics–but also because we wanted to make it very clear to our friends that this would not be tolerated. At Robinson, you are expected to be respectful to others no matter where you are–the playground in addition to your classroom or anywhere else you are at school. We left the meeting with a call to have each kiddo think about how they fit into this yucky puzzle of disrespect that has been happening outside. Everyone has something they can do differently on Monday.
After we got back to our classroom, I had my kids do their regular Friday Note that always follows class meetings. As always, they could tell me whatever they wanted to, but I also had them add their goal for what they would do to make recess better on Monday afternoon. They understood that they each play at part in making our grade the best it can be, and I know that they will take the charge to change something tomorrow. Can’t wait to see what it is!
Thanks 5th grade, for being brave and taking this on. You are all correct ~ the “yucky stuff'” that has been going on is so NOT Robinson 5th grade (or any grade for that matter.) I am anxious to hear your solutions and also to know how I can help.
This is a tough subject, because I bet there are some kids who may not want to talk about their “feelings,” but making it OK to do is a wonderful thing, Jen. Thank you.
You’d be surprised at how many of them really wanted to say what was going on. I think between the fact that we’ve created a safe environment to voice your concerns and because they really want things to change, many were willing to say what they saw happen outside. I was glad they were willing to do that. We’ll see how it affects things for the long run. So far, they tell me that they’re noticing positive changes happening, which is great. 🙂