I had intended this post to be about getting out of students’ way.
After a session with George Couros at NCTIES, I’ve rethought a few things about running my classroom. In the last couple of years, I’ve reworked things to be more and more student-centered, but George pushed me to go even further. This post was going to be all about what my students had done this week when I got out of their way.
And they did some amazing things!
It became apparent as the week wore on that my kiddos did need me to get in their way for a few reasons. We’ve gotten to that beautiful place in the year when we’re family. Everyone knows each other so well…and knows just how to get under each other’s skin. We love (and fight with) each other like family. It’s lovely…and frustrating. There were several instances where children who are bestest buddies actively worked to hurt each other. There was bickering and fussing at every turn. Little things were becoming big things simply by how they were being handled.
So we took a break from the student-directed learning for a day and had Friendly Friday. I sent a Remind text to all the families on Thursday night that t-shirts with positive, friendly messages were encouraged as well as board games.
We spent the day reconnecting with each other and remembering all the things that make us awesome. Each student spent time thinking of something that made every other student amazing. We got some regular classroom business out of the way, and then they had time to play their games with each other.
It wasn’t a lot, but it was clear that they needed a little help to work through some bumpy patches. I have a few things planned to keep the friendly momentum going.
Often, what students need is to be set free to do amazing things. But sometimes, they need a little help. By truly listening and paying attention, we can be who they need us to be.