Thursday, January 10, 2019

One Little Word -- Inspired by Our Classroom Routine


We change desks every two weeks in Room 226. Students' morning work on moving day is to move all their belongings out of their desk (or box) to a stack on their chair (or stool or nearby their spot at a standing table). Then we clean and disinfect (hooray for Clorox and Lysol wipes!) our old abode so the new tenant will have a fresh start. (Embedded life skill: clean the apartment so you get your deposit back!) With all of the students seated in the meeting area, I pull sticks to "assign" seats. First stick pulled chooses a spot at the first table, next stick sits at the stool table, then the clock table, the red chairs table, and the blue chairs table, and back around again until all the sticks are pulled and everyone has a new spot. (Pairs of students volunteer for the two standing tables.) So, every two weeks, students get a new table group and a new view in the classroom. I am not in charge of creating a seating chart and therefore, I am not in charge of behavior--they are. In reality, the spot they are assigned is mostly just a predictable place to put their belongings. Seating is flexible during most every work time--they are also in charge of their learning zone.

We've added a new spin to this bi-weekly routine. I wrote about it a few weeks ago, and it was #12 in last year's 31 Teaching Truths. We choose a new word to BE for the next two weeks. The person who chooses the word gets to determine the style of the lettering and decorate the poster. So far this year, we've been positive, fierce, focused, persevering, love (not be loving, but actually be love), courageous, flexible, and confident.

In 2019, instead of choosing One Little Word for the year, I am going to spend more time with each of the words we choose for our gallery of what we will BE.




A few weeks ago in a conversation about our words (not during the actual choosing ceremony), I tossed out the word WIERD in honor of our ongoing celebration of diversity, but was gently redirected by one of my students. He suggested that UNIQUE would be a more positive expression, one without the negative connotations. (So...maybe our quick little practice of lining up shades of meaning in synonyms is starting to stick?) Let the record stand, though, the words that are chosen are theirs, not mine. And yes, kids are starting to hoard words, hoping to be the next one chosen.

Lo and behold, the word that was chosen for this round was, indeed, UNIQUE. Perfect word, actually. It was the theme of the talk they heard on Monday from author Jason Tharp! So for the next two weeks, we'll celebrate all that makes us one-of-a-kind.






11 comments:

  1. Cleaning up after themselves! Being Love! Sounds wonderful, Mary Lee.

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  2. Love this. I wish my teacher had taught me about cleaning and organizing.

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  3. I kinda want to weep with how loved these students must feel. What an amazing experience to be in your classroom. You make me miss classroom teaching just the tiniest bit. I do love the words, the choosing ceremony the way a group of human beings are working together to purposefully learn and use language together. You give me hope.

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  4. How empowering each student must feel!

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  5. What a great idea, Mary Lee. The students are exhibiting agency through an innovative approach to the one word challenge.

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  6. I love this! I want to come and work at your school so I could be your teammate!

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  7. SO much to love about this! Most of all, I admire how you actually practice honoring choice and voice in your classroom.

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  8. I agree with Margaret--there's so much to love about this post! I especially like how your student spoke up after considering the negative connotations of "weird." Such wordsmiths you're developing in your classroom! You have me considering how I might change things up a bit in my room--and I've been jumping around to all your links and lost my fledling comments several times! lol Hope they don't appear in triplicate somehow!

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  9. Love this glimpse into your classroom, Mary Lee - makes me miss teaching.

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  10. I love this a thousand times over. :)

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