Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 18: #SOL16-Some Classes Are Easy to Teach!


The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by the inspirational writers of Two Writing Teachers. Each March, they invite people to join them in a commitment to write every day. Here's to another year of daily slicing!


I grew up riding horses, and at my barn we all had opportunities to ride each other's horses.There were definitely horses that were harder to rife than others. Mandy was skittish, and she would jump if a door opened. You had to always be ready to hold on because at any moment, she could jump and dump an unsuspecting rider. Champ needed spurs and a crop. You had to work really hard to keep him going, and if there was anything green around, he was going to do his best to stop and eat it. Then there was Elliot. He was awesome. Just a little heel and he was in a perfect gait. We all looked and felt like great riders on him!

I get to work in many classrooms in the district from kindergarten up through sixth grade, and sometimes I compare them to some of the horses at our barn. There are classrooms that jitter. If anyone walks in, if anyone rustles a paper, if anyone sharpens a pencil, everyone looks up, seizing the opportunity to take a break from work. There are also classrooms that remind me more of Champ where the teacher and I work hard to get people going. Those rooms are full of chronic bathroom visitors, reminiscent of Champ grabbing a snack whenever he could. And then there are the classrooms that remind me of Elliot. I was in one today.

When I walked in, they were all busy wiping green dots of paint off all the furniture because of the leprechauns who had visited and left a mess. They all had a serious and fun purpose to clean their room. However, when the teacher asked them to sit down and share their writing, they were quiet, respectful, and proud to have me hear their latest writing. A few students read their pieces while others listened and paid specific comments. In between students, their teacher asked me about conventions, and I told her about a lesson I had. "Let's do it," she said. 

I asked the class to join me at the rug and within thirty seconds, they were all right there with their notebooks and pencils, looking at me, ready to hear what I had to say. Just as Elliot made me feel like a great rider, this class made me feel like a great teacher. But, the truth is, someone (not me) worked really hard to train Elliot, and someone (not me) gets the credit for nurturing a class and fostering an environment where students can have a lot of fun but transition to serious learning just like that! High kudos to their teacher!

Happy Slicing!



11 comments:

  1. I love this post comparing classrooms to horses. What a clever analogy. And I will be stealing those horse names. Especially Elliot. Thanks!

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  2. I so agree that it is the teacher that makes the class become like "Eliot!" The enthusiasm for teaching and learning was evident in your example. Don't you think that is what it is all about? Being passionate about what we're doing? Your example seems to show that is the case here.

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  3. I so agree that it is the teacher that makes the class become like "Eliot!" The enthusiasm for teaching and learning was evident in your example. Don't you think that is what it is all about? Being passionate about what we're doing? Your example seems to show that is the case here.

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  4. It's like magic when you can be in a class like that. Some teachers have that gift to create the community that truly works together, no matter what they are doing.

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  5. Kudos indeed. But also to the students. Some years no matter what I do, every transition is challenging (this is one of those years) Other years, with a little practice, we are there! Same me, different student dynamics. So interesting. This post made me think about this. I also appreciate that you share that in your role, going into some rooms is somewhat challenging! Great slice.

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  6. Kudos indeed. But also to the students. Some years no matter what I do, every transition is challenging (this is one of those years) Other years, with a little practice, we are there! Same me, different student dynamics. So interesting. This post made me think about this. I also appreciate that you share that in your role, going into some rooms is somewhat challenging! Great slice.

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  7. Melanie, I love how you are honoring the teacher in this post. We always say that teaching is many moments in time, not one moment. Demo lessons are not really teaching - as coaches we are always standing on the shoulders of many moments of great teaching!
    Clare

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  8. What a great analogy, Melanie. I haven't had as much time to visit classrooms this year, so I'm happy to be with any group, Champs and Elliots alike!

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  9. This is a great way to teach classroom management. Which horse would you want to ride? Which class would you want to teach?

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  10. She sounds like such a great and loving teacher. I think we have so many of them. Teachers do not really get the credit they deserve for encouraging learning. Thanks for pointing out another great one to us.

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