Three awesome things from the first day of school yesterday:
1) The kids absolutely LOVED the visual way we showed our connections to each other. What a wonderful icebreaker and community builder. We sat together around a piece of chart paper. Every child brought their favorite color marker with them and wrote their name. We went around the circle saying something about ourselves. Everyone who shared the commonality drew a line from their name to the speaker’s. Quieter kids were encouraged to speak because they knew they had to as part of the game, and they did. Only once did a student say “I forgot” when we got to her. Um, no, ya didn’t. But she was intimidated about speaking. No matter, we worked through it together. The students chose a title for their artwork – “We Are Connected!” – and decided where they wanted to hang it. Game on.
2) The pennants were a huge success. I shared mine, which the students eagerly helped me read, and we talked about what it means to have a dream. Then they talked at their tables about their own personal dreams (big assist from my para on this one) and, once articulated, began to design their pennants. First of all, I loved their range of responses – dreaming of being an astronaut going to outer space, dreaming of being a doctor, dreaming of doing more homework, dreaming of owning a horse, dreaming of being in Mexico. Second of all, goodness gracious, there are some incredibly talented artists in this class. I shouldn’t be surprised that the one that everyone feels it is necessary to warn me about has got some amazing talent for drawing. He’ll be just fine. Students were glad to share their pennants with each other, and I loved how this became so much more than literacy and art. It’s about pride.
3) Come the end of the day, I told the students it was just about time to go home. They were not happy (*blush*). One innovative thinker suggested they should be able to sleep in their classroom rather than go home. I thought about it and said it was important that the room gets cleaned overnight, but that we could make a deal. They liked the idea. So I offered it: “You go home now, and I’ll let you come back tomorrow morning. Deal?” Yep, they took it.
We’re off to a great start and there is much more potential in that room than a lot of people realize.
But they will.