Thursday, June 18, 2015

Learning like a Pirate Book Study Ch. 3

Thanks for tuning back in for the continuation of the Learn like a Pirate Book Study hosted by The Primary Gal! This week I got excited because I was at a TNCore training, learning about our new standards and new state test, and the instructor quoted Paul Solarz! I was like I know that quote, and then we got to talking. Isn’t it great how people are united over great things?

This week we are looking over section three, which was all about getting kids to collaborate.

“Collaboration allows us to know more than we are capable of knowing ourselves.” 

What a powerful quote, don’t you think? I’m getting this one put on a canvas or poster for my room. I really go to thinking about the adult perspective first. In teaching, we are so about ourselves. 
These are my kids. The scores go against me. I don’t have time to do extra. 

Aren’t you guilty of having thoughts like that? I know I am. This past year, I was really like that. I really liked what Paul said about what collaboration brings to the table:
If you don’t have collaboration in the classroom, then you see the adverse effects: cliques, animosity brewing, and students isolating themselves. Then it hit me hard. I had to stop everything. This had been my problem last school year. I hadn’t allowed students to lead in the classroom. I hadn’t taught them how to collaborate. I hated to give them group assignments. All because there were arguments; there were people not pulling their weight. It was too hard for me. “Cindy,” I thought, “Since when is the school year about you anyways. You’ve already been in 4th grade. You’ve already gotten your dream job. It’s now about helping them feel comfortable as they learn, so that they grow.”  Maybe if I had realized that, then maybe the year wouldn’t have been a constant battlefield.

(gif) high school musical 'were all in this together' photo wereallinthistogether_zpsfe029b7a.gifYou’re right Paul, we are in this together. I was really good about telling my kids that the class was ours, they were really good about doing some of their jobs, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t do all that I could to make sure we had a safe community for learning and to keep it up all year long. My goal for next year is to implement the “Give Me 5” idea. I use it regularly, but never had I thought about kids using it. Why not? I want them to share what they learned. I want them to be excited about what their partner found out. So why not?

Get your copy of this on TPT: Terri in CA (Link in the post)
Paul gives some ideas on how he teaches students to use it correctly. I think that his method allows for creativity to flourish. (Dr. Hall over at David Lipscomb- I’ll do my best to not kill creativity in my elementary classroom.)

We implement a system called STAR in our school where students are challenged to Sit Straight, Track the Speaker, Ask Questions, and Respect others. That’s basically what Paul tells the kids. This part really resonated with me this week: Try to not discourage them from taking initiative and be proud that they addressed the class. With the stress of the test(s) looming over us in the upper grades, this sometimes happens. If we want our kids to be productive learners and grow as leaders, either active or passive, we must allow them to practice the tools we are giving them, so that they can get better!!

I’m really glad that this book has ideas on how to teach leadership, how to teach responsibility, and how to teach conflict resolution. He explains in the book what one of the first days look like, and how he gets into the conflict to make it a teachable moment. I know now how to make incidents like these become more obsolete.

Pairing and Grouping children is really a must do in schools now. I mean, it’s on the TEAM Eval. :) It’s also really good for the kids. However, I always disagreed with how people paired up the kids. When I read that Paul uses his handy, dandy Popsicle sticksit made me happy. Seriously. No lie. I also love that he said that kids work together, and they might work with people they dislike, love, or don’t know really well. In real life, I get small anxiety attacks meeting people, talking to people (even store clerks), and I know that we didn’t do projects in school with other kids. I worked with people I knew if we did have a project or an outing.
Random stick etiquette teacher ecard......OMG im dying laughing. Only my teacher friends would understand this humor.
I know that I will be making anchor charts for how partners can redirect partners as well! That idea is ahmazing! I love that a choice can be to ask your partner if they need a drink of water. I tell them the importance of drinking water every day! Many of the kids only drink the wonderful drink at school.

One thing I do well in my classroom is morning meeting. We have morning meetings will all of my classes. It promotes social learning, it promotes community, and helps with those speaking and listening skills. If we talk about something in morning meeting then students really take head to it and try to focus on it for the day.

I’m so ready to get better at this. I’m so ready to start the year off right. Are you? How are you going to provide ample opportunities for students to lead this next year?

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