Every Wednesday afternoon the kindergarten class comes to my Grade 2/3 classroom for buddy reading. It is easily one of the highlights of my week. Smiles abound. We share books and spend happy time together reading, talking and learning. A peek at what I see:
- huge amounts of oral language practice
- leadership skills developing
- giggling and laughing through a book
- playing games with books (Eye Spy, Can you find a . . .?)
- spontaneous songs
- excitement over books and learning
- turn taking, negotiating, working it out
- getting lost in a book
- growing confidence in reading skills
- beautiful fluency and expression
- “telling” a book
- building relationships
Recently our kindergarten teacher and other classroom assistants have been absent and so various other adults have been attending buddy reading with the Ks. Some of them have made comments to me that made me think we couldn’t possibly be in the same room.
“Well, they don’t really sit in their seats.”
“They are jumping around so much, I don’t think they are concentrating.”
“So many of them don’t stick to a book.”
“Those two aren’t really reading the book. They are just talking.”
“They can’t focus for very long.”
Don’t they see what I celebrate? In a room of 5 – 8 year olds, there is energy, noise and movement. But look closely, it is all meaningful. Learning doesn’t look or need to look one way.
Children do so many wonderful things in a day of learning. If you can’t see this because you are looking for something you have decided is more important, wow are you missing out.
Celebrate children. Embace their growing, development and learning styles. Enjoy their smiles. Notice their new skills. Laugh with them. Be with them where they are. Don’t rush them on to what is “next.” When you stop, slow down and notice what is in the now, it is often pretty great.
And every Wednesday, when I have a front row seat, my view is absolutely joyous.
For those who visited and saw something different. . . I wish, for you, to see what I see.
A great post Carrie and one that i can relate to. Learning in my classroom looks quite different than learning in other rooms but if you look closely at the learning that is happening it is child centred with my students being the key learners in my room. It isn’t about having all my students do things my way, it’s about letting them discover ways to that work best for them. Your weekly buddy reading sound just like that too. I wish I could bring my students into your book loving classroom. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
My pleasure. Thanks for the comment! It just really made me sad that these guests (substitutes, etc.) couldn’t look past the busy energy, the happy chattering and the bottoms not in seats and see all of the lovely things happening. The children are engaged, they are feeling proud, they are learning how to be with each other and I just get to stand back and take it all in. They are “driving the bus.” And it’s awesome.
Totally! We need to accept and celebrate exactly where our students are. As I say at the end of all my e-mails, “There is good all around you – you just have to see it”. I live by those words, even in the toughest most challenging times. Attitude IS everything.
Your post, Carrie, and your comments, Karen, reflect so much of my current thinking! Seeing children engaged and happily chatting away is so the heart of what I’m all about. My classroom looks SO different from those around me, but when people take the time to step back and really look at what’s happening, I hope they see the magic. I think if I were to look in both of your classrooms, I’d see that same magic happening!
Thanks for the comments Laura! You are so right – it is about stepping back and really watching what is going on. Children have so much to teach us and to reveal. We just have to make sure we are paying attention and not trying to paint their learning with our own agenda!
I wish more children could be blessed with a teacher like you, Carrie. One can’t help but learn from you…even us adults.
Thank you Coleen. The lovely thing about being a teacher is that the children teach me everyday. I just have to make sure I’m paying attention!
I am so inspired by the pictures of the students and by your commentary as well as what Karen has added….the looks on the children’s faces and the concentration on what they are reading is captivating…they look so content and so happy. I agree that “attitude is everything” and it is so important to look for the “good stuff.”
I have a request: We are expecting our first grandchild in July and I would love your suggestions and other teachers as well, for books for the baby and growing child. I gave my children’s book collections to a school when my two kids had grown up, and now I want to create a little library as our gift to our newest addition to the family! You are an amazing teacher Carrie…and I have a feeling that there are many other teachers out there who love what they are doing and inspire their children to read!
Well – asking me for a book recommendation list means you will never be rid of my suggestions 🙂 Suggesting books is just about my favourite thing ever! Big congratulations to you and your lucky family. Thank you for the wonderful comment!
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