Time There is only so much of it in each school day.
I always tend to get introspective after a few days away from the classroom so part way through Spring Break I have been thinking about things . . . Specifically what matters in terms of time and how we spend it? What are the things I really want to honour? What things need to be happening?
Here’s my list
Make the Time . . .
There needs to be happiness and celebration as we learn. In our classroom, this is where we begin.
We have a Gratitude Circle at least once a week where we share something we feel grateful about. Sharing our happiness and what we appreciate is a gift to others. Gathering in a circle to breathe, share and be calm is powerful. Especially on Halloween 🙂
Play happens daily in our classroom. It lets us get creative, solve problems, practice negotiation and always, helps to build our social skills. Plus, of course, it is FUN!
To Be Lost in a Book
I always say, “Being lost in a book is the best place to be.” If there is lots of time for reading, there is more likelihood this will happen. Often.
To Read Aloud
Read aloud builds community. And of course so many amazing literacy skills are practiced: listening stamina. appreciation for the sound of language, sense of story, inference and prediction skills, etc.
To Calm and Regroup
Sometimes after very exciting activities (like pumpkin carving) we need down time (like reading to our pumpkins). Balance.
We do mindful breathing three times a day. When our K/1 buddies come up for buddy reading, we participate altogether. This daily time to center and focus means something.
Some of the best teaching is not done by me.
For Time Spent with lots of Adults
Lots of interactions for many reasons. Here is a student sharing his great reading with supervision aides and office staff just before recess.
For Time with Different Ages
Playtime outside with our K/1 buddies = lots of fun. Building relationships is what it is all about.
For the Mess
When we do interesting things and make discoveries, there are things everywhere. Clean up is easy. Thinking is messy.
To Switch it up
Sometimes, we need to abandon a lesson and go in a different direction. Here I had planned a place value review. The students needed to be architects. So we were architects and we demonstrated our knowledge of hundreds, tens and ones the next day.
To Work Together
Great learning happens when we stand back and let the children figure it out together. And of course wearing blue lab gloves and working with fancy coloured water makes it all the more interesting . . .
Because it happens. We get sad. Mad. Frustrated. Grumpy. Mean. We are a community and we need to weather it together. The learning is in the acceptance, the forgiveness and the moving on.
These are fifteen things I value.
Also significant? What I didn’t put on the list . . .
What about you? What would be on your list of what matters? Please share in the comments!
I love this list Carrie! My favorite is time for gratitude – something that is very important to me and that I’m always trying to remind my students and my own children about. Loved the line “especially at Halloween” – that made me laugh!. I think if I were to add something, I would add “to nurture” to the list – as we are really promoting growing and eating green at my school and I think students learning to nurture the earth by planting and growing is a worthwhile experience. Thanks for this great post! Just spent two days skiing with my family at Big White – I was grateful for the time with them – especially on the chair lift – where interesting conversations occur! I was also grateful for the fresh snow and the joy of skiing in it!
To nurture is a lovely addition. So true. Taking care. Learning about growing. I have spent hours every day in my garden this Break dividing, weeding, adding compost and there is nothing like being part of a growing landscape. So lovely that you had this time with your family. Those boys of yours are wonderful. I too laugh when I see this picture of my students doing Halloween yoga and then our gratitude circle. The moments when they share their gratitude are some of the most precious.
Wonderful, Carrie. I value each of these for sure. Love the laughter pic, + others of course, but that picture just makes me smile! And love the reading to pumpkins, a new idea for me! For my older middle schoolers, I would add time to talk, individually and as a small or whole class group. It was invaluable as I remember, just to have conversations. Thanks for this!
Reading to pumpkins was not something I had ever thought of either. That day we had needed quiet time. Our pumpkins were on our desks and it was kind of spontaneous. Quite adorable and totally what we needed in the moment! And I love your suggestion too – Time to Talk. I also value this. 🙂
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You made me cry. I will have to think about this some more. You seem to have covered a lot of important things to make time for and I don’t know what I would add. Beautiful! I would love to be a child in your room.
Wow Crystal thank you. I do treasure these children and learn from them so much everyday.
I love this list! There is a lot in here I want to think about. I took time over spring break to do so many of these things for myself and my children. Now it’s time to figure out how that translates into practice in classrooms and in professional development. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the comment Annie. Lovely that you had a break for some quality time for your own family and yourself. It is certainly needed – time to recharge! And reflect.
I think that the word you used in your tweet that led me to your post hit the nail on the head: community.
Each one of your “things that matter” all contribute to the creation of a community. While I was reading I was thinking “What would I add?” and then there it was: laughter.
Thank-you for sharing!
Thanks Sharon – the laughter is an essential thing. And needs to happen often!
You have created a list of a supportive learning environment. Messiness and play caught my eye first – is is something that some teachers seem to have hard time allowing. I like that you included time to be upset. We need to acknowledge that it is impossible to be happy and productive all the time. Best of all I like that you finished the list with laughter. I find that your list isn’t for classroom only. It works well for personal and professional life too.
Hi Terje – it was important for me to include upset too. It does happen and often in a primary classroom. How we react to it and teach the children to respond is important. Our message is always that we are a community and that we need to allow people their emotions and continue to strengthen our community. We all learn from each mistake.
The pictures on this post are precious – so many wonderful things going on in your classroom, and your philosophies show what you treasure and value. I love it! I like that you have the perfect mixture of activity and rest, a safe space for emotions, and lots of learning going on. It’s hard to think of something to add – you covered so much! How about a Time to Create (similar to the Mess one) and a Time to Listen. I love finding out what my students create when given the time. I also know they really need to be heard and sometimes when I get busy and pressed for time, I forget that. Oh, and a Time to Give. My 5th and 6th graders get excited about giving back to others.
Thanks Holly – I tried to select photos that best represented each of these points. I take a LOT of photos which made it a little challenging! I love how you have described my classroom because that is exactly what I am aiming for – safe, active, calm and lots of learning! Love the idea of Time to Listen. This is precious. And Time to Give – also wonderful! Thank you for these!
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Thanks for dropping by and reading!
Love your list. In our classroom we’d add “make someone’s day better.” Little gestures can mean so much!
So true! The gift of thoughtfulness goes a long way!