This morning we exited a live Coding Quest lesson 1/2 way through because our classroom iPads weren’t working well enough for us to follow along with the instructor. Everyone was frustrated so we took a quick break.
We had a class meeting to talk about our Wonder Jar and instead ended up talking about Emily’s (not the child’s real name) suggestion that we start the day with silent reading in English instead of Spanish. Although my instinct was to veto that idea, I listened to the reasons some students gave for wanting to make the change.
And, then, Jane (not her real name) said: “I disagree. We’re still starting the day with silent reading, but instead of English it’s in Spanish. It’s still relaxing and gets our brains ready for the day.” (Although I’m paraphrasing, that was the gist of her argument.) More students spoke up to echo Jane’s opinion adding that there were other snippets of time during the day to read in English.
But what happened next was unexpected. Emily said: “I want to change my mind.” When I asked what made her change her mind, she mentioned the arguments made by a couple of her classmates.
I asked the class if it was OK to change your mind? They said, yes, and I seized the moment to emphasize that Jane had changed her mind after hearing the points of view of other students. A big learning opportunity!
In the afternoon we voted for our next read aloud: Wonder or Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas. Although I secretly hoped my students would choose Addison Cooke because it’s about Peru and we study Peru in grade 3, I was willing to go with the majority decision. Before they cast their vote by raising their hand, someone suggested that everyone close their eyes when voting so they wouldn’t be influenced by their friends’ choice. They chose Addison Cooke.
Writing workshop brought more pleasant surprises.
I conferred with two students who were writing together, but who don’t usually pair up when given the option to choose a partner to work with. When I asked how their partnership happened, one of them said that he was thinking about whom in the class he hadn’t yet worked with and that’s why he asked the other student to write with him. They also informed me that they had agreed to be honest with each other if they didn’t like their partner’s suggestion. When I asked how they were going to do that without hurting the other person’s feelings, one of them said: “I would say – ‘That’s a good idea, but I’m not sure that fits with the story.” As I turned to write down some notes about our conversation, I noticed that they had their story planner in between them as they wrote.
Based on the suggestion made by a student a few weeks ago, we have been writing about what we learned on a given day. Recently, I noticed that some students were struggling to come up with something authentic. Because I want them to celebrate their day, I told them they could write about what they had learned and/or what they liked. Today’s reflections were refreshing and a joy to read. Having a choice between what they learned and what they liked seemed to be a deal breaker.
I am so excited to go back to school tomorrow to learn with my brilliant 8- and 9-year old students!
Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Story Challenge.