Friday, November 15, 2013

Caring for a Creative Community

Angela's amazing cartoon--humorous and informative at the same time. 
My class is a creative community, and it is my job to care for them.

During tech workshop yesterday children were completing comics, Google presentations, puppet shows, story threads, and more. There wasn't a corner of the room that wasn't buzzing with activity. Twenty-three bright, creative, energetic students can create quite a stir.

It's another turning point for my classroom community.  They've learned how to use multiple tools for presentation and communication. They have developed classroom friendships, and opened their eyes to the endless field of learning.  And, they've proved that they can truly attend to lengthy learning tasks and assessments. For example, they all spent up to two hours of sustained attention writing an end of a unit persuasive essay assessment yesterday--amazing!

So how do I care for this sparky, spunky team?

I'll start with yet another room overhaul by going in early this morning to quickly reorganize the many classroom centers and supply areas to make more room for the latest projects and our upcoming Culture Celebration. Also, in response to the upcoming holiday season, I'll simplify the schedule to a "less is more" focus including daily reading, writing, math, and tech workshops plus read aloud. I find that the holidays are a good time for more routine and focused activities since many children are busy with outside-of-school recitals, celebrations, and special events. Finally, it's a time for another round of student reviews.  Hence, I'll copy a number of checklists, review recent assignments, and determine direction for individuals too.

The teaching year remains a journey of both expected and unexpected twists and turns--the key is to keep the children center stage in the journey. That's what matters.