Gush, Gush

Or I guess we could call this “Day 33: Ahh!–updated again.” Or even “Isn’t Rm. 202 An Amazing Place to Be?” or “My Students are THE BEST!!”

Ok, I guess you get the picture, right? This post is one of those that I’ve been thinking about writing for a while, mainly because I told my kiddos I needed to tell the rest of the world the amazing things I’ve been telling everyone about them in person lately.

Remember in that “Day 33” post where I was talking about how we have gotten to that place where we can breathe? Let me tell you more.

One thing I remember really appreciating about the class I worked with during my student teaching 16 years ago was how much they got that learning was their job. They were second graders, and granted, it was their second year of a loop (so Heidi Ford had had a whole year already to work her magic with them!!), by regardless they were dedicated to making the most of their time at school. I was amazed every day when kids would whine about going home, lament the fact that they didn’t have homework and delight over every new learning invitation presented to them.

I remember how encouraging the whole class was to each other, how they cheered each other one and how they really helped each other focus on putting their best foot forward and stretching their brains. Pretty sure RM. 107’s motto was “work hard, get smart,” and I love that!

Since I’ve been a teacher, I’ve longed for (and in turn worked towards) a class of eager learners who function with that same fervor.  Over the years, I’ve had clusters of kids in every class, but only once or twice can I remember a class that was really together for each other. Who really were selfish and selfless in their learning at the same time. I mean kids who want the most/best for themselves but also truly want that for everyone else, too.

So…I bring this up because I am getting a distinct feeling that this group I have now is just that class. 😊. It took us a long time (and a lot of work!) to get here, but the place we are now is beyond where I’d thought or even hoped we’d be at this point in the year.

Lately I’ve been hearing and seeing things like this:

*As we are trying to quiet down in order to get outside to test our light/sound inventions and kiddos are not doing so very quickly: “Come on, guys!  Don’t you see that we are wasting our learning time?  If we don’t get outside now we won’t get a chance to try out our inventions and we’ll have to take them apart.  This is important and we can’t miss out on learning!” 

*As I am trying to get attention after a little-too-loud math workshop, the same friend (along with some help from at least 1 or 2 others): “Guys, Mrs. Bearden is waiting!  This is important to listen to her directions.  You can come back to what you’re doing later, but you can’t hear what she’s saying later because she’s only saying it now!” 

*When kiddos heard that someone didn’t get any work done during their whole math workshop rotation, students faces were marked with amazement, wondering “What?  He didn’t do ANYTHING the whole time?  How could he miss out on all that math learning? How sad!”

*When someone had an empty writing folder after almost a whole quarter of school, writers wondered what he had been doing all this time.  They were sad for him because he wouldn’t have anything to share at our writing celebration, and that he had not been practicing all the things we’d been learning in Writer’s Workshop.

*As kiddos yell out during a read aloud, students quickly raise their hands in the shape of a zero, reminding their friends to keep a quiet voice while we read.  Others can be heard saying, “We will take turns” and “We will listen and follow directions,” which are both class norms we’ve agreed upon. 🙂

*During work time this week, I heard a friend say to someone else, “I can’t talk to you right now, I have work to do.”

*That same friend could be heard saying, “Wow, those were sandpaper words when someone said , ‘Those are my crayons!'”

*When a student was trying to talk to me while I was working with another student on an assessment, a friend nearby said, “Remember, she’s not going to talk to you, you’re whining.” Then, as the friend continued working to interrupt, she added, “She’s not going to talk to you, she’s working with that friend.”  

*As I start to remind kiddos of appropriate line behavior (before we leave for recess), I hear someone finish my words my saying, “I will…take you to recess when everyone is in a straight, quiet line!” 

*When a group that was only supposed to have 2 or 3 kiddos in it ended up with 4, the group calmly figured out which friend should move to another group by deciding to play rock/paper/scissors.  When the friend moved to his new group, a friend there said, “Come on over, let’s make a plan!” 

I feel like I could probably go on and on with amazing words and actions that kiddos in Rm. 202 are saying and doing right now.  It’s been so beautiful to watch how kids are starting to take care of each other, encourage each other (which is another norm), and remind their friends of what we are all about.  We had a little trouble this afternoon with crayons (and not sharing them correctly and therefore wasting our writing time), and kiddos were able to reflect on what those actions said about us, whether they were what we are all about in Rm. 202 and whether they help us learn.  We agreed and then actually asked me to let them go back to work so they could fix it.

I am loving how kiddos who have previously struggled with distracting behaviors are stepping up and responding positively when their friends ask them to stop, when their friends remind them they quickly change their choices.  I am noticing less waiting time, more learning time and just how the overall feel of our room is so relaxed and comfortable.  It is truly a special and LOVELY place to spend the day.  I am really lucky to be able to work with such an amazing group of kiddos every day.  And if you’re a parent of one of those kiddos–thanks so much for all you did and do to help them be their very best!!  I appreciate you, too! 🙂

 

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