Writing prompt of the day–scary kids. And 200 more prompts.
The Next Page Entry 58: Word clouds and class rules–perfect partners
Gotta say, I’d be in dire straits without ol’ Beth and Sanjay looking after me. At least when it comes to technology. These kids know everything, and not just about the inner workings of the equipment.
They showed me a site that makes word clouds.
I love the randomness and freedom these things give the kids, who can still show what they know in their own personal style. And when it’s something new, it’s easier to sneak in an actual lesson, some valuable content, without them realizing I’m actually assessing them. They see it as more of an art-type project. Perfect.
Note to self: Ask teachers if they’re open to giving up their designated bulletin board month. We won’t need to let Mrs. Nix know…
And so, why not keep up the momentum on mutual respect [I prefer that topic to ‘bullying’.].
Simple: Make a word cloud of rules or guidelines focused on courtesy and consideration of others.
List your guidelines on paper. [At least five.]
Throughout the day, take turns with the iPad to use that list to create your word cloud from your list.
At the end of the day, we will create a whole-class word cloud so be ready to contribute one of your guidelines.
[This journal is turning out to be a good way to think through activities.]
I wonder if I can use these things for math…
Science would be a breeze. And it’s time for another field trip to our park…yes, our park. Hey, why not give the kids a little sense of ownership when it comes to a study site? They like that phrase, ‘study site’. Makes them feel all ‘college-ish’, to use Beth’s word.
The Next Page Entry 57: A matter of time…
Saw a cartoon in the paper recently with the caption, ‘Alarm clocks…because every morning should begin with a heart attack.’
My version: “School bells…because every day should end with a heart attack.”
I swear they [whoever ‘they’ is…but I have a pretty good idea.] crank up the volume to 11 [aka’ Led Zeppelin-KISS-AC/DC’] at 3:00.
And is it just for Room 36?
Or am I being paranoid?
Or, should I say, more paranoid than before?
The Next Page Entry 56: P.S.
Received a memo about a districtwide change in expectations–an uptick, really–re: our adherence to the common core standards. [Hmmm, I noticed I didn’t use upper-case for ‘common core’. Shrug.]
Anywaaaay, an observation…P.S. In a letter, it usually suggests an afterthought, some added notion to throw in at the last minute.
Pendulum Swing. And. Paradigm Shift
Both favorite momentum killers in education today…
Both are P.S.’s.
The Next Page Entry 55: An intriguing delivery
Found this tucked under the ‘welcome’ mat at my classroom door.
Why do I think the heart symbol is less-than-sincere?
Dare I try to root out the offending culprit?
The Next Page Entry 54: Bullying…fill in the blank
Re: the bullying activity…
Three additional bullying prompts…more like ‘treating others decently’ prompts, actually.
This time, I asked them to fill in blanks.
I created groups of three for them to share their answers.
I didn’t require them [though I encouraged them] to share their answers.
Sanjay was in Jeremy’s group. Yes, I engineered that. It was to be a test for both of them. If Sanjay could at least address the peripheral issues of bullying, with Jeremy in the group, that would be a step forward for him.
At the last minute, I switched cards. I decided ‘too much too soon’. And instead—wonder of wonders—Beth ended up in the group with Jeremy.
Here were the prompts I provided:
—By standing up for a friend, I learned to…
—Knowing what’s right is meaningless unless you…
—Respect others, so that…
I was tempted to linger/lurk near the Beth-Jeremy group, but that would have been too obvious. So I circulated and watched from afar.
Beth read her answers and I noticed she went wellllll beyond short phrase fill-in responses. And she looked right at Jeremy as she read, with an occasional glance at Annie. Jeremy sat with his arms folded, looking elsewhere as Beth read, but watching Annie as she read. Watching her intently, in fact.
Do I possibly have another ‘ally’ in my search for justice in Room 36?
The Next Page Entry 53: Thoughts on bullying…
When I see one classmate…
So, yes, I need to be more proactive with this bullying thing.
And yes, it does stem from one person, but anybody who acts as a fan, follower of, or ‘lieutenant’ for, that person is a bully as well. They seem to get a charge out of seeing someone with less power than they have.
Today, I wrote a couple of story starter journal prompts, but then I drew a horizontal line underneath those and added these two:
- When I see one classmate mistreat another classmate…
- Some ways kids mistreat other kids include…
I reminded the kids that they were welcome to drop their journal on my desk for me to read and left it at that.
Just out of curiosity, I’m making a point of not using any form of the word ‘bully’. Plus, it’s such a loaded term nowadays.
Next will be a short classroom activity.
The Next Page Entry 52: Who’s who in Room 36?
I just realized…okay, not quite just realized…that I really haven’t mentioned many of my students.
It’s difficult to NOT mention Beth, the strong-willed one who keeps her eagle eye on me seemingly at all times, unless she’s establishing peace and justice [well, her versions] elsewhere in the classroom. [I can almost hear her wheels turning, cranking out ideas on how to make something we’re doing better or more interesting not so ‘borrrring’…as if I don’t do that enough myself.
And I’ve mentioned Sanjay because he is often linked with Beth. Great that she has taken him under her wing because he really was a lost little soul at first. She seemed to know what connects with him, starting with technology.
But as the days go by, I have noticed that he at times even stands up to her. And that is no easy thing.
Unfortunately, the person whom Sanjay hasn’t yet stood up to is none other than Jeremy…I know I’ve mentioned him a little. He is actually a classic bully who knows how to dish it out, but doesn’t not deal well when it’s dished back.
I’ve tried reasoning with Jeremy, but he senses another kid’s vulnerability and he swoops in. Plus, he has a few admirers following him around on the playground. (Or are they just kids who don’t want to get on his bad side?). so that just emboldens him. And while there aren’t many who dare stand up to him, guess who seems to live for the opportunity? Yes, Beth.
Kind of funny to see that pint-sized dynamo get on her tiptoes to try to go nose to-nose with Jeremy. She’s known him since kindergarten and has put up with his stuff for all those years. I think it was second grade, though, when she finally had had enough and mashed his burrito with her fist and walked away. So I’m told…A cafeteria legend that has lived on.
A few things I have tried have slowed the behaviors for the short term, but I didn’t sustain the momentum. Blame it on my short attention span. My fault.
But this morning before school, Christina came to me complaining about name-calling without telling me the guilty party. I was pretty sure who it was, though. So it’s time to revisit the issue. And I have some ideas I’d like to test out. More later.
The Next Page Entry 51: Brownies with a twist
So, here’s the deal. I’ve been giving myself pep talks every day reminding myself that even though I’m not following the much-revered instructional schedule, it’s not as if I’m poisoning the kids’ minds. They’re still working with most of the expensive, bloated curriculum–it’s just that it seems it’s not a bad idea to mix things up…every day.