Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Involve Kids in Changes

In the spirit of the theme of change today I am using a different font! After a long and harrowing first day back from winter break, complete with pouring rain and no recess all day, I thought I would share about one thing that seemed to work well.
Yesterday, I bravely changed the seating chart in my classroom. I know.. "So what!" "Is that such a big deal?" Well, trust me. In Kindergarten, change can be a very big deal.
I decided to try something new. Normally when I rearrange kids' seating, I do it myself, telling students beforehand and introducing them to their new spots the next day as they arrive. This time, I decided, with the assistance of my awesome student teacher Meredith, to let the kids be a part of the process. I wondered if they would adjust better if they actually physically moved their own "stuff" to their new desks.
We had our new chart ready, gave them some time to clean out their desks, ( ooh and that was fun!) and had them bring their "stuff" to the rainbow carpet. Table group by table group, ( there are 5 colored groups in the classroom to match the rainbow carpet) I called them back to their new spots. Students put away their things, greeted their new neighbors and looked around. "Look around, take a picture in your brain of where you sit now." "Ch ch, click", and all sorts of pretend camera sounds filled the air. I celebrated the moment with real pictures of each new table group and will post them today to help the transition.
As the day progressed, I noticed that in contrast to past changes in seating ( in former classes),
everyone seemed to be adjusting well. No one forgot their seat after recess or after lunch. No one really seemed disoriented or confused. Success!
It might seem minor, but this slight change in my approach highlights a trust in myself as a teacher to follow my intuition. I believe, deep down, that kids have the capacity to thrive when we can give them just the right amount of responsibility.
As we were talking about the difference between being at home all week on vacation and being back to school with 22 of us crowded together in one classroom, a five year old wise girl remarked, " Yeah, we have to be much more responsible!" And she is so right. :-)

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