Sunday, January 13, 2019

More Thoughts on UNIQUE

Random Thought #1: The comments on last Friday's Poetry Friday post were an interesting conglomeration of interpretations of my haiku. Props to Steve for finding the hope I tucked in by making my "protagonist" a dandelion! I'm thinking I will share those comments with my students by way of showing them how real people in the real world unpack poetry and take whatever meaning reverberates with them in that moment. Thanks to all who commented! You provided me with a rich and authentic "mentor text!"

Random Thought #2: I'm continuing to ponder my One Little (Two Week) Word, UNIQUE. Is it really all that unique for classrooms to create celebratory routines? Or for students to have the agency required to (gently and respectfully) suggest to the teacher that her word (weird) might have too many negative connotations? I hope not. I hope that these small bits of everyday classroom life are there, even if they are not usually showcased.

It might be an interesting inquiry project for a teacher to try to track the influence of all the little things s/he does and see if there is any evidence that those little things build to something greater.

Let me rephrase that. Anyone want to join me in an informal inquiry project where we track little moves we make around language and student agency, and then look for bigger trends in how our students absorb and apply those little bitty (not usually showcased and not really recognized as Capital T -- Teaching) "lessons?"

Here's the most recent evidence I have in my IIP (Informal Inquiry Project). I gave my students new (short term) name tags on our first day back. They are colorful patterned tagboard on one side, with some self-evaluation statements on the back. A couple times a day last week, I asked students to mark how they thought they had done with a task or activity. They marked the appropriate statement with a paperclip on the edge of their name tag. Later, I circulated, quickly flipped name tags, and got a sense of who was focused, or struggling, or distracted.

On Friday, as we were talking about how they felt about their Genius Hour work with the Snap Circuits, a student suggested that perhaps the cards needed more positive statements and not quite so many negative ones. Wow. That opened a floodgate of suggestions for positive ways they might describe their work ethic and attitude, plus the suggestions that we use only "our words" or have a self evaluation name tag that is all emojis. How's that for some cool data about student agency and understanding the power of specific language?


  1. Wow! When we ask they tell us. When we don't ask they tell us. Good for them. I'm interested in your IIP thoughts. For several reasons I had "lost my round table "the first half of the year there were learners who needed it more than I did. Once those learners were able to have different seating I took it back. In the first week I had more thoughtful determined conferences. The round table is dry erase perfect for sharing thinking and no one is at the head of it. My words, their words made a great first week.

    1. We can talk before/after class this week! I want to hear more about your IIP!!

  2. Yay for student suggestions and responsive teachers!


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