Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Class Meeting - 5th grade

My students gather on the rug for class meeting.
The two referees (rotating students who guide the meeting) sit on chairs ready to start.
The half-eaten, torn, wrinkled half-moons used for taking turns - red on one side for silence, green on the other to signal a turn is wanted - sit on the rug, too.

I try to stay out of the conversation by sitting to the side, but it's hard to stay out of it completely!

Today's topic: some kids are using their devices inappropriately by playing games or using apps instead of doing their work.

"Why is this a community problem?' I ask my students.

They tell me that when they're working in groups not everyone is doing what they're supposed to do. Some kids are playing on their devices. It distracts others and prohibits the group from completing their work effectively and efficiently.

At the end of the meeting, the kids had a couple of solutions to solve this problem, but they were stop gap measures. For example, if I catch a student on two occasions using their device for off-task behavior, then I will store their device for the day and they will have to write their work by hand.

I don't want to police my students, and I don't want my students to police each other either. I want them to learn how to work successfully in a group where each member makes an important contribution to the work at hand.

What's remarkable about this problem is that it came from the kids and that we are discussing this in class. My students will always be confronted with others who don't pull their weight of the work. Whether the problem involves devices or not, is not the issue.

So many possibilities here.

We will be having some more discussions around this over the next few weeks, I'm sure. Of course, although I have some ideas for solutions, I'm going to help my students come up with solutions to ensure that everybody is doing their share of the group work.

Kids are so smart. If they're given half the chance to figure things out, they will come up with amazing possibilities.

Although I didn't exactly know where I was going with this SOL, it's gotten me to the perfect place.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers March SOL Challenge, Day #2
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