Thursday, January 14, 2016

This week in our classroom

WOW!  We just closed the doors on the 2nd quarter (wrapped-up the 1st semester) of the school year.  Let me just say that these 4th graders are ON FIRE!  Seriously.  We started our STAR tests and the results so far show good growth.  We went a little deeper with our classification of living things sort.  We created a foldable to show the scientific classification of an animal of our own choosing.  Next week we will begin to do some animal research to lead up to an animal report.  As I evaluate each and every day there are some common themes for the good days and common characteristics of the not so good days.  See if these make sense: 
1-      We want our days to be HAPPY!
2-      We want to be part of the group.

This week we had some days that I left school celebrating---like floating on clouds celebrating.  There were also a couple of days where I left thinking, “what do I need to do differently because we cannot have another day like that?”  What happened on the days that we all left feeling happy?  It wasn’t that everything went our way.  We just chose to remember the good pieces.  I really believe this.  There were still rough parts of the happy days but somehow I chose to celebrate the way that Student A said, “thank you,” for something.  I chose to appreciate the time that Student B had worked on quality work.  I chose to acknowledge the great STAR scores and XTRAMATH progress that we had in our classroom.  What about the part of the group thing?   Well….that is definitely a little trickier with 4th graders.  I saw it happen in an amazing way this week.  Students were so excited about learning how a scale works on Monday.  Then we had more questions about other electronics and things with circuit boards.  Students were excited to offer things from home:  tools, broken electronics, hangers, yarn, etc.    There was evidence of mutual respect and excitement about learning.  Everyone was included and students felt like they needed to do what was being done.  In Native American cultures belonging was so important.  Ella Doria, anthropologist, said, “Be related, somehow, to everyone you know.”  We are a family in this fabulous 4th grade classroom.  The good days are definitely the ones where we choose happy and we include everyone.  Enough of my rambling---get out there and enjoy this LONG weekend!

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Thursday, January 7, 2016