Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Not Them, It's Me

I've gotten into a bad habit. When I talk about my current crop of kids, I often joke, "This group may cause me to drop out of the classroom for a couple of years." Sometimes only half joking.

The thing is, I have a lot of fun with them. I enjoy seeing them as they investigate and build, as they try out new ideas and tell me stories. I have learned some of the things they like to do and tried to give them opportunities to explore.

The challenge comes when we get into a group. Our group learning times are becoming difficult. And I've used up all those "tricks" that usually help the group function better.

They all talk at the same time. The conversation bounces all over the place. I know this is normal for a group of 5s and allow for it...but this group is a little more excessive than others I've had.

When something is not working, I always wonder what I'm not doing correctly. Whatever is going on, it's not the's me. I always say that the kids in each group help me learn more about teaching and about young children. So, I'm working to find out what I need to learn from this one.

And I promise that I won't make that joke anymore. That joke is creating an expectation that I don't want to foster. This group is a great group of kids. They are energetic and social. They like to talk to me and tell me what they are thinking. They will listen to the stories and things I have to tell them...when I do things in a way that connects with them and their needs. I just need to keep experimenting. (And this group will be the group that helps me learn more so I will stay in the classroom for years to come!)

BTW - Teacher Tom wrote a great post about experimenting. You'll want to read it.


  1. Scott, hang in there, the game is not over!

    Have you tried the Talking Stick? Start it as a game like 'Freeze' in small groups with a 'Moving Stick'... you're only allowed to move if you've got the stick (which can be any easily held object, doesn't have to be a stick).

    Then bring it into your large group as a Talking Stick- it's your turn to talk when you get the stick- and just pass it around so everyone can say their name. It should grow from there.

    And remember to be a performer- as extrovert as possible- when you want attention! Don't be shy! SING! :D I've found singing works when NOTHING else does. (Especially if you sing the names of those who are doing the right thing!!!!)

    Wishing you so much energy... this group sounds like you will need it!!!!

  2. I'm not throwing in the towel yet. I know I just have hit on the right "key" for this group. The Talking Stick is a great idea - I've heard of that before but haven't used it...and didn't think of it.

    I'll be blogging more about my adventures in this area. Thanks for the encouragement and ideas, Annie.