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Triggers and Celebrations

Slicing every day in March!

I've been wondering a lot about my triggers lately. What makes me happy? What makes me sad? What discourages me. What gives me hope. And, much to my chagrin, many of the things that produce a strong emotion in me are extrinsic in nature. I seem to get my value from what other people say about me. I can turn on a good word and, just as easily, buckle over someone's carelessly, or carefully, worded comment.

These changes in mood are often related to my perceived professional worth.

This is a hard way to live. It's unpredictable and totally dependent on the person giving the compliment. And, of course, it's completely random and unreliable. Here one day, gone the next!

So, during this month of slicing, I am pledging to notice and document daily 
successes - big and

Today's noticing is about the tempo in my classroom. Yes, tempo!

The rhythm of a group of 5th graders who when given a choice about whether or not to participate in a Mystery Number Skype, chose wisely. Those that wanted to participate, even though it was right, smack in the middle of their recess, did so. The rest of the class went to the playground. There was no attempted coercion on my part and no lamenting the lack of buy-in from the whole class. 

Not everyone has to do the same thing at the same time.

The rhythm of kids blogging and writing really great comments on each other's posts.

It was the hum generated by pairs turning to talk to each other about Number the Stars.

And it was the jubilation of a child rejoicing in her partner's thinking because what she said was just so good! 

Not everyone spoke during the whole class discussion. Sometimes, that's OK. They were listening and learning, nevertheless.

It was the buzz of historical fiction book clubs getting together for the first time to determine a reading schedule for the next eight days.

All of that happened because I trusted my kids to walk alongside me today. I ignored what was supposed to take place and instead I celebrated what was right in front of me.

I don't need a test to tell me how well they did.
I could see it.
They could see it.

I choose to celebrate that.
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Today's post is short and sweet because I just got back from a night of playing Bunko with friends. 

I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!