Monday, October 31, 2016

My children are heard, but don't like to be seen? What?

I can not believe it is the last day of October already! Talk about time passing by quickly. This year's bunch of sixth graders are  inquisitive, active, and very needing of attention. Ever have one of those classes that you absolutely love, but they are absolutely draining? Yup! Those are my kiddos this year.

One of my core values is that I believe children should be heard. The direct opposite of that age old adage " children should be seen, but not heard". But how do you really listen, while making sure you're using class time effectively?

In my classroom this year, we're trying out two things.

In the morning, as I'm taking roll and dealing with any papers turned in, we have our story starters. Think share time, but for junior high. Students who have something to share/need some extra attention can share it at that time. I allow them to stand on their chairs, if they wish, so that they can have maximum attention. Anything goes during the time people start our day. Stories get told aboue events the previous night, how the student is feeling, or things that they like or dislike. Six people can share per day ( sixth grade, six people...after that attention starts waning from the audience)

The other strategy we're trying out is the Mighty Minute. This is a minute of undivided attention from me...okay, I'm gonna be honest, sometimes I round down to 45 seconds. They can tell/share/show me anything, but after that, any question or comment in class has to positively contribute to whatever we're discussing. Since I have my same students four hours a day ( religion, language arts, and social studies), giving opportunities for "mighty minutes" throughout the school day has cut down on interruptions tremendously.

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