Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SOLSC #11: Nourish your Little Seeds

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

Today I started this book:

I found time to start it today during school hours when I had to do a makeup test with a third grader. I found this quote in it that I absolutely love:

Has this ever happened to you: You're all excited to teach students an upcoming lesson. You planned it out so well, writing the objectives and aligning it to the CCSS. You spent lots of time getting materials together, and were ready to go on time when the students returned from their special. The lesson started off alright, but then something went wrong. You found yourself getting frustrated and then, even though you didn't mean to, you kinda took it out on the kids?

This used to happen to me (and occasionally it still does) but I had such a great principal for a few years awhile back. Actually, I've had *lots* of great principals, but one in particular just got right to the heart of the matter with me. In no uncertain terms, he just put it out there for me. He said, "Michelle, whatever your students are doing or not doing is a result of you. As the teacher, you are the single biggest factor in their school day. If they're totally getting your lesson on dividing fractions, and you can see mastery on your exit slip with them - well, that was because of you. If they are being kind to one another and if they are growing their love of reading, that is because of you. But, the same is true on the flip side. If they're not following along, if they're talking while you're talking, if they are not getting their guided practice done correctly or not writing their reading letters the right way - that's because of you, too."

In my last few years at the middle school, I would sometimes catch myself in this trap with negativity with the students. It would be around the February Funk, usually, when we're getting close to the state test, the weather was cold and cloudy, and spring was nowhere in sight. And, there wasn't going to be a day off for months! Kids would be angry or disrespectful to their peers or to me. If it kept on going, I would find myself acting in the same way - losing my patience quickly. Venting to my team of teachers more often. Raising my voice or quitting the lesson I was going to do because of it. Unfortunately, the kids aren't going to break the cycle - that was up to me! So, no matter how upset or mad I was, I realized that their behavior was in part because of me. So I had to be the one to break the cycle, do some community building and put some positivity back out there. Then, just like magic, the problem was no more.

The same goes for academic instruction. If a group of students are too loud - were they allowed to be loud for too long? If they are not responding to your lessons in the way you pictured it...did you model what you wanted enough? (At all?) Kids can't do until teachers model. It would be like me trying to learn, I don't know, Karate, and having my teacher just ask me questions about it without explaining, showing, watching me and giving feedback, and then explaining some more. That Gradual Release of Responsibility model....oh so important.

So readers, are you nourishing the little seeds sitting before you each day?

Happy Tuesday!

PS - Reading in the Wild: Amazing! (And I'm only on chapter 1!)

1 comment:

  1. Lots of big truths in this post! I want to share it with the teachers in my building, if that's ok. I haven't read READING IN THE WILD yet. I got to see Donalyn present about the book a couple of months ago- really enjoyed her!


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