Graduate School. A new job. Fall already seems like a distant memory. I would like to start reflecting on some of the things that are going well in my new classroom. This is what I celebrate today!
Have you read this book yet? If not, get it now. I'll wait...
You are back then? Okay, let's get started.
When I was inspired to write about the work my classroom was doing, I knew I had to be thoughtful about it. How could I protect them and yet share the stories that are impacting me as a teacher? And then the words hit me. Kristine and Christine could have been sitting in my classroom when they wrote this book, and they must have known how critical it was for me to read to help in facilitating the joyful mindset growth that is needed to facilitate growth. This book was released a perfect time for me. I loaned it to a friend, and then asked for it back, because I was referencing it so much.
Here is our journey so far.
We started with Empathy. We used interactive writing to create our charts. This one sits at eye level, between a chart about loving each other and a chart about being kind. We can see them perfectly from where we meet for our circle and carpet time. Why the Bible verse? I'm in a Christian based school now, and I'm also exploring how to authentically teach faith to little ones. (Another blog post for another day.)
Then we had a conversation about persistence. We know we don't stop when things get hard. I remember one little friend who was looking for a challenge in math. When he got it, he immediately wanted to stop and go on to something else. I encouraged him to try again, and he completed the task. At this point, it wasn't about the math. We talked about how he didn't stop when it got hard.
(And you guys. I'm thankful for cover-up tape. It took me until now to realize I have persistence spelled wrong on my chart. #embarrassed. There is my first job for Monday! Whoops! I'm thankful for time to reflect so I can see my own mistakes as well.)
I used the storytelling strategy to introduce resilience. A little student allowed me to share the beginning of a tough day. She had fallen down in our hallway to start her day. She had been asked to sit away from the group for awhile. (By the way, I don't have a time out chair. The kids drew all these visuals.) But she regrouped, and ended up having a great afternoon. The storytelling strategy was most effective with my group. I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat more than once as kids shared how they were resilient during the school day. This is a visual we return to often. Most recently my son, who is in my class and gave permission for me to share, woke up in a grumpy mood. Grunting, his behind in the air on the floor, not wanting to get up. I just whispered to him, "I love you. I'm sorry you had a bad start to your day. It doesn't have to ruin the whole day." He jumped up. Got dressed. We headed out the door. He turns to me and says, "Mom, I'm resilient!" There are multiple stories I could share with this trait. But it's probably the trait that most of my students identify with right now.
This is our most recent trait. Not only are we being impacted by learning about a Mindset for Learning, we are also highly academically capable. So, now that I've established a relationship with my little friends, I've started to up the expectations more academically. Especially in math. And the first time they realized that, it was pretty chaotic. Again, we used storytelling to reflect on how we finished the task that day. Some friends just counted. Some needed to sit away in a corner to count. Some needed color to make it more visual. As we continue to work toward higher academic achievement (because I have observations that indicate they are capable of this), we will return to this concept again.
I'm excited to introduce optimism next week. The impact of our we view ourselves could be so powerful. I can't wait to see what happens.
I celebrate the work of Kristine and Christine. It has brought about some positive changes in my group this year as they grow up.
Go get the book. :)