Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pass the Microphone Please..

On our last day of class before our Winter Break, I was challenged to find ways to make the day peacefully memorable for my kindergartners. Teachers were urged by our leadership to keep any and all "holiday celebrations" limited to the brief period after lunch on Friday, the very last day before break.
We had planned a quiet, low-key celebration after lunch: cookie decorating, hot cocoa drinking, gathering all of our projects and a present for our families to take home, and singing some holiday songs with other K classes in our shared "pod" area. As I reviewed the plans, I decided that something was missing: kid voice. I set aside about 20 minutes for a "karaoke" share, passing the microphone around the circle and inviting the kids to share a custom or ritual they do at this holiday time or any time of year. Even my most reluctant and shy speakers seized the opportunity to share about lighting candles, decorating trees and singing songs. Although there is always the challenge of keeping kids engaged and attentive, I think it's important to build the skill of respectful listening, especially to peers. I wish I had taken pictures of the giggles and serious moments. They were highly engaged!
As we lined up to go home, little voices chimed : " two weeks without school! I'll miss you SO much!" "Are you sure we can't come tomowwow?" In a moment of spontaneity, the kids began hugging each other, and then bounced into line for a teacher hug. 20 hugs and a few tears later, the bright eyed munchkins were on their way to two weeks of time with their families. It was a wonderful way to send them off! Happy Holidays Room 11!