Monday, March 25, 2019

Actions Have Consequences: Letting Students Own Their Consequences!



"You're always picking on me."

Maybe you've heard this before.

I have tried, on many occasions, to explain to some of my students that their actions have consequences.

"I am not picking on you. Your consequences are in direct correlation to your actions." Well, I don't use those words exactly, but you understand what I am trying to get them to understand.

It doesn't help when parents stand behind this thinking, and add their voice to the idea that my day is made when I get to "pick on" a child.

Well, after Student-led conferences I felt that maybe the consequences in our room weren't clear. Maybe that was the problem. They understood there would be consequences, but just felt that they were not dealt out fairly. We do have a brief list of Expectations hanging on our wall, however, that doesn't seem to be enough.

So during Morning Meeting, we came up with a Rules and Consequences form, which I have since changed to Actions & Consequences. We sat as a group and worked on the form. I added two actions, but they came up with the rest. ALL the consequences are theirs. ALL.

We did not list positive actions because no one has ever accused me of "picking on" them for positive things. They know the consequences of positive actions, they experience it every day.

I printed the document. You will notice there is a place for the child to sign AND their parent. They are to bring the document back and keep it in their desk, notebook, somewhere where they can access it if needed.

I have a great group of kids, but, this is a lesson I need them to take with them as they follow their path.

Your actions have consequences.

They can be positive or negative, but our actions, young and old alike, have consequences.

Credits: I found the quote above on FB. Applebaum Training Institute

Saturday, February 16, 2019

"You LIKE Reading"? Is Reading for Pleasure Obsolete?


The other day I was teaching an economics lesson on Supply and Demand.
The students had to write a list of 4 things they like to do when they are home.
I modeled the ist with a list of my own, and I started with reading. (Which I really shouldn't have because the lesson was about getting paid to read, so... but that's how much I love to read.)

One of the students stated increduously, "You LIKE to read?"
I replied, "Yes, that is part of how I got here, haviing this job," or something like that.
He said, "That's not what I mean. You just LIKE to read?"
I said, "Do you mean for pleasure?" Yes, I do, and I'm mad that I don't get to do it as much as I would like because of work."
At this point, he just laughed and shook his head.

Many students don't read for pleasure. Many adults don't read for pleasure.
Why?
video games
Youtube
phones
lack of diversity in books
books are not present in the home or classroom
school has sucked the joy of out of reading

So, what should we do to get our kids reading for pleasure?

  1. have diverse books in your classroom
  2. stop killing books with worksheets (What's the Main idea?)
  3. give kids time to just read 
  4. Let students choose their own books 
  5. allow students to read books, not just passages with questions
  6. allow students to read above or below their "level."
  7. participate in projects like the Global Read Aloud
  8. connect with others in the world who are reading the same book.
  9. use tech to let students "talk" about their book
  10. connect with authors
  11. read picture books
  12. allow audiobooks
  13. let them read digitally with Epic and Readworks.

My kids are tested at the end of the school year, so I am not going to tell you that I never use worksheets or teach reading "strategies." But, I have found that the ideas I have listed above have created students that actually enjoy a book, who read for pleasure.

My best moment of our day is whe my kids sprawl out all over the room in video chairs, the Yoga balls, at a desk, or the round table and read. The room is quiet and and the majority of them are actually reading! Sweet!:)


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Genre Hunt:Using Books For Authentic Learning Moments!


Sometimes kids just want to do something that is fun. Meanwhile, I want fun and meaningful.
I gave them a @Quizizz pre-test on Genres and they bombed! They had an accuracy of about 42%, which told me that they knew almost nothing about genres.

What to do ? What to do? How do I "teach" genres in a hands-on way where they might actually understand what a genre is?

I know, "A Genre Hunt!"

I have tons and tons of books in my room in every genre, so this would be an easy task.
I created a form that included 3 items, the genre of the book, the title of the book ("Use capitals!"), and the author. (Amazing how many kids don't know where to find the author of the book).

I handed out a Genre Overview sheet and we reviewed it. Then I let them go. (Classroom management is a must with this activity.) They worked in groups of 4. It was a learning experience watching them rush around the room gathering books, picking up our most recent read aloud trying to figure out where it fit, deciding who recorded, and who skimmed the books. Collaboration at it's best!

They really, really enjoyed this activity! When I told them that we had to stop, I ended up giving them more time. As a matter of fact, we had a Part 2 the next day.

I wish I could tell you that when I gave the Genre quiz on Quizizz again, they were at a 100% accuracy. However, they did increase to 50%, so learning about genres will continue to be a work in progress.
If nothing else, I did get them to become familiar with all those books sitting in our classroom. :)