Saturday, November 13, 2010

Visual Reminders

This student is becoming more aware that she needs to slow down and be careful with directions! She often works speedily!

This student understands the need to stay calm for a test!
This student doesn't talk very much in class but would like to more!

As you can see, slowing down is a goal for several students in my class!
Side conversations take away from our learning. Why not share your great observations and thoughts with everyone?

Yes, it's another reminder to work slowly and steadily.

This student is not happy when his/her desk is messy!

This student knows the importance of cooling off when upset.

The picture above refers to a student who wants to go even faster with math facts!
This student wants to remind herself to calm down at times and not get over excited and disruptive.

At the beginning of this week, fresh and energized by their long weekend, students discussed strategies to help them achieve the learning and behavior goals they set for Quarter 2 and beyond. All agreed that a visual reminder of a picture and/or words might direct us to be mindful of “how” to achieve that goal. What’s my goal in this? I want students to become more aware of and actively participate in the actions that lead them to increased engagement and meaningful learning!

The pictures, affixed to their desks and shared above, reveal the keen awareness of our learners. They know “what” they want to work on and are working on “how” to carry it out. I am very impressed by the students in my class!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Was That a Cheer I Heard?
(note: This post also appears on my school blog which is limited to the school community. I thought it was relevant to share here.)
You may have heard some spirited celebratory cheers coming from the Grade 4 classroom this morning around 9 a.m.. If so, you might have wondered why we were cheering, in a psuedo-sports team huddle,  before beginning the writing assessment.

The rationale is plain and simple. We cheered to encourage each other to relax, do our best, and show what we know about being effective writers. Through this 1 minute routine where we vowed to "Rock the WrAP" we changed the atmosphere from a slightly tense, anxious one, to a relaxed and ready environment.  As we joked about the magic power of our pristine, new Ticonderoga pencils, freshly sharpened for our important task, students breathed deeply as a hush fell over the room.

Every single student worked diligently for the entire hour of our WrAP test today. Each determined face revealed an understanding that it was an opportunity to demonstrate the effects of our recent efforts in writing.  I look forward to tomorrow when I will see  faces beaming with pride as students revise and turn in their final drafts after the second and final hour of WrAP testing.

If you're curious about some of the fascinating research in the field of positive emotions and cognition, be sure to check out the work of Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research lends key support to the importance of a positive, safe classroom environment where students take risks and grow from reflecting on their mistakes.

Thanks for all you do in supporting your child. I hope you hear me cheering for you in appreciation!