Saturday, September 24, 2011

Building a Community

We are several weeks into the school year and my class is beginning to meld into the Second Graders I know they are.  We have had a few bumps along the way these last few weeks.  Summer vacation is still on the minds of many of my little ones.  It is evident because of the summer weather we seem to be continuing to experience in our valley.  It has got to be hard for them to sit and listen to me when all they really want is to be outside and play in the beautiful sunshine.  At times, I must admit I would like to be out enjoying a round of golf or sitting by the lake with my family too.  But it is almost October and those activities are no longer high on the list of priorities for our day.  Instead, we are working on routines, schedules, and expected behaviors.

I began using the Bucket Fillers concept last year with my students and loved the ideas of it.  I had to tweak the process a bit to fit the constraints of my classroom.  I managed to find ways to incorporate the concepts and utilize my GLAD training as well.  The two ideas of individual kindness and teamwork have blended together beautifully.  I love using both concepts.  I am seeing great results with both.  My students are in the beginning stages of realizing their own potential kindnesses and intrinsic feelings.  It is exciting to watch.  Of course, the teamwork is a bit harder.  Especially, with all that heat and sunshine calling them.  However, I found a way to break through their desire to be outside and work on their desire to be inside with me.  We have been focusing on our behavior.  Along with our learning targets, I posted behavior targets in my classroom.  Collaboratively, the students and I came up with the two most important behaviors to work on as a class.  We created simple rubrics they could all understand and began our work.  About every 30 to 45 minutes, we stop ourselves and self-evaluate where they believe they are on the continuum.  I am so impressed with them!!! They are beginning to get it.  I love to watch the excitement in their faces when I know they have had that breakthrough moment. 

Our community is taking shape. The first few weeks of school are exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time.  At times, it is hard to tell who is more tired; me or the kids.  But come June, it will all be worth it.  Especially when I know they are ready for Third Grade!!!

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