Dear Mr. Solarz-
It's Lori. The crazy teacher/blogger/book studier/control freak from the past 2 weeks. Can you believe I'm even still hanging in here? You know, all this crazy talk about student-led classrooms and collaborative environments and empowering students seems to have finally gotten to me. Congratulations. You broke me.
And I couldn't be happier or more excited than I am right now.
I think it was your whole "Marble Theory". that did it You said we all have the same amount of marbles in our brain, and over time we allocate the marbles into different cups-some of which are very specialized. So I'm going to assume that my cup for "controlling tendencies" is pretty full. But-you know what? I think I have another cup that balances it out. And I think that cup is "adaptation".
See, I can adapt like the best of them. I can make changes at the drop of a hat and make it seem like it was supposed to be that way all along. So that's what I'm going to do. Adapt. Change in order to survive.
Because if I want my students to survive out in the real world, this is what they need from me. So thank you.
Lori the Learning Pirate (Argghhhhh!!!)
But before I head out...I do want to mention my favorite part of this chapter. We finally got to read more about the "Give Me Five" that had been mentioned several times. This is something I was very interested in because it initially seemed to me as an acceptable way to "shout out" during class, which has always a BIG no-no in my class. After reading more about it, I realized it was absolutely something I could do in my room.
Here were some examples of appropriate "Give Me Fives" used in Solarz's classroom:
1. Letting others and the teacher know when it is or almost is time to transition.
2. Polite suggestions for how to improve the class's behavior at a given time.
3. Making a suggestion to improve the task they are working on.
4. To ask the whole class a question when no one in your group knows the answer.
5. Offering to demonstrate a skill that others might need in the future.
Of course, it's natural for me to worry that some students might not use "Give Me Fives" properly. Solarz points out that it takes a lot of time during the beginning of the year to teach the importance of respecting the power of the "Give Me Five" and not abusing the privilege of it. Immediate feedback can help to correct the behaviors, but remember to never underestimate the power of your "teacher stare" if students aren't respecting the privilege of the "Give Me Five". I can totally do this.
Definitely check out Ashley at The Primary Gal for her take on this chapter. She reflects on how to deal with conflict in student-led classrooms. You can click on the button below to head straight to her blog.
And don't forget to check out some of the other bloggers' interpretations of this chapter. You never know what great idea you'll come across for your classroom.