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!

No comments: