Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great Reminder

I made it, I made it through to Fall Break!!!!!!! I have seriously been looking forward to this weekend since Labor Day weekend! I have to say that yesterday was probably one of the best days I’ve had in my class. My students were so engaged in learning all day that I almost wondered if someone hijacked my class and gave me a new set of kids!!

Honestly, I think much of their engagement in learning yesterday was due to my attitude and demeanor. Yesterday I was full of energy and excitement about the learning taking place. In writing, I have noticed that my students are writing about the same two topics all of the time: birthdays and going to the park. I asked the class if they had any more events in their lives that they could write about. They talked with a partner about the possible topics and I went around and listened to them. I was so excited to hear so many great moments from their lives that they could write about. When we came back whole class, I shared some of the stories I heard. I was so full of excitement and really wanted my students to see that they have so many great stories to write about, they just have to dig a little deeper to find them. I believe my enthusiasm for writing was incredibly contagious because they entire class, even some of my more reluctant writers got started right away on their stories. What’s most important is that they stayed focused on writing for the majority of the writing block…INCREDIBLE!!!!! It is absolutely amazing how the teacher’s attitude/enthusiasm/beliefs about learning can impact learning.

I noticed the same effect during our Math lesson on Place Value. I was teaching that in the number 83, the ‘8’ isn’t really ‘8’, but rather it is 80 because it represents 8 tens. Since this was the first lesson, I assumed that most of my students would not understand this point and would need more practice before getting it. Boy was I WRONG!! They got it and after a few more examples, could even explain WHY/HOW they knew that the ‘8’ did not represent ‘8’. I clearly showed my utter delight in their ability to think so deeply about the problem. Again, this enthusiasm was totally infectious and when students went back to their desks to practice independently, they were engaged and motivated to work through more examples, even ones that were more difficult.

We all have our difficult days, days when we don’t know how we will make it to the final bell at the end of the day. However, when we have those great days, the ones where incredible learning takes place and students are motivated and in-tune with each other and you, bask in all of its glory. These are the days that remind us of how much we love teaching!!

*On another note, I will be starting PBF (Positive Behavior Facilitator) training this coming week and the first class is on Saturday from 8-3:30!!! There will be a total of 2 Saturday classes and 4-5 classes during the week from 4-8. I'm really bummed because the first class is on the day of my niece's birthday party (turning 6). I will have to make it up to her. I will be posting on the training and it's usefulness in the classroom.

I wish you all a weekend full of rest and enjoyment!!