Ever Wondered….

…what teachers do on their plan time? If you’re a teacher then probably not (unless you wondered what other teachers do on their plan times), but if you’re a student or a parent–I’m about to let you in on a little secret.  Ready?  We plan things.  Ok, that’s not fair (and it’s a little snarky.  Sorry. 🙂 ).  But really, we do.  And often (as with my fabulous team this year!) we do it together.

Sometimes we get the luxury of double plan-times (which is really just a fancy way of saying we have a big 2-hour chunk to work with instead of just 50 minutes), and it’s during those that BIG things happen.  Like just last week when we were doing this together:

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See the work there?  Can you figure out what we were doing?  Those pictures, my friends, are our notes from time spent chewing on a volume pre-assessment.  We were trying to create something that was engaging, real-life and challenging all in one.  We even had the idea of creating two separate scenarios to interest different kiddos (one was Legos and the other was related to cupcakes).  I LOVED how well we worked together in this session, how we each brought something different to the table (and to the whiteboard!), and how we ended up with a great pre-assessment to use that is equal parts us and equal part awesome.

Have I mentioned before that MY TEAM ROCKS?  If you haven’t been to their blogs lately to see what’s going on in Rm. 201 and Rm. 203, do it! Now. 🙂 Please? 🙂

You Matter and You are Smart!

Gotta start with major shout-outs to my teammates–Genie and Rachael–for some AMAZING thinking today as we worked together!  I am totally not surprised, but instead really impressed by what we accomplished together. 🙂

Our goal in getting together today was to collaborate on beginning-of-the-year community building and icebreaker activities.  But what came out of our time were some really intentional and focused plans for how we can plan, organize and order the activities we choose to do–all with the goal of helping make sure our kids know in their hearts and minds “YOU MATTER” and “YOU ARE SMART!”

We have great ideas about how we can better use data we gather with our classes about how our students are smart (using Gardner’s multiple intelligences) to group for community building activities, as well as the order in which we present the many activities we do (ie. partners first, then small group games, then whole class challenges).  After we do each activity, then, kiddos will debrief on how it felt, why it worked (or didn’t) and how each new experience compared to the others we’d done.  I know it sounds simplistic right now, but stay tuned–I promise there are amazing stories to come about how it went!

Because this is the first time our team has been together, we (well, Genie really 🙂 ) had the idea that we should work through the same personality/intelligences activities that we’re going to ask our kids to do.  We hope to gain insights into what each of us brings to the table, what our role will be in the team, as well as just how we should interact with each other based on our personalities.

I AM SO EXCITED about what we planned today!  But beyond that, I’m jazzed about how we’re working so well together to create focused, meaningful experiences for our new friends.

My team pretty much rocks. Just sayin’. 🙂

How do you building community with your teaching team? How do you build community in your classroom?  How do you help your students know they matter?  I’d love to hear what you do! 🙂