- The very innocent group of younger boys who still love Thomas the Tank engine,
- The rough and tumble bunch who still struggle with keeping their hands to themselves,
- The super sensitive girly girls who cry that "She's being mean to me" if someone says "I don't like pink."
- The crafty girls who say "I don't like pink" after they find out it will make the others cry - just to make them cry.
- The bunch who learns things from their older siblings and are kissing behind the bookshelves and asking how to spell sexy!!
- The few stragglers who don't fit into any group but just try not to get involved with the drama. And boy is there drama!
With so much curriculum to cover, there's just not the time that there used to be to foster the social skills that this group really needs. I try to fit in as much cooperative learning as possible so we can learn to work together, but it often leads to tears, broken pencils and a whole lot of nothing being accomplished.
Until day 163! To end our Poetry Unit, we celebrated by writing group poems to share with the class. My hope was that working in groups would foster some teamwork. We focused on the idea that "Poets feel with their hearts" and wrote about shared experiences that gave us strong feelings. The plan was to brainstorm something that everyone in the group has experienced and then have everyone contribute at least one line to the poem. I was worried about the kids agreeing on a topic, including everyone in the writing process and just being kind to each other. Well, on day 163, the stars aligned and we did it! Together!
Most of the poems were list poems, like this one:
Going to the Ball Game
Some of the work literally brought me to tears it was so inspired, like this one:
Lost My Grown-up
In the store
Can't find Mom
I think I might cry
Really can't find Mom
Where is she, where is she, where is she
Turn the corner
When we read them to the class, the kids clapped wildly for each other. They gave compliments like, "Jack, I really like the way you put spaces between your words. That makes it really easy to read," and "That happened to me once and you really used your hearts because that is EXACTLY how I felt."
So, today I celebrate my little motley crew. It might have taken 163 days, but somehow between the tears, the teasing and the broken pencils they've learned to respect each other, work together and cheer each other on. They have become a team. My team. And I'm going to miss them like crazy...
Happy Memorial Day - Have a great day off tomorrow!
This year my class was obsessed with Pete the Cat, so to celebrate the end of the school year, I wrote an emergent reader for the kids titled, Pete’s Summer Vacation about all of the things I imagined Pete would do with his days off. I try to base my math and literacy stations around books we love, so it was pretty neat when the kids asked if our last bunch of stations could be based on this book. So I went to work and came up with a bunch of math and literacy stations, as well as a cute autograph craftivity. I think it’s the perfect way for my class to end the year. I'm going to post the 100+ page unit to TPT as well as some freebies here, but I'm looking for 2 or 3 proofreaders before I do that. If you have some time today and can get back to me this evening with any edits, I'll send you the unit for free in exchange for your help. I know it's a busy day, but if you have the time to help me out, leave your email in a comment. Thanks!