Sometimes, things work for a while and then they don’t and you have to figure something else out. This spring we all began to feel a little stuck; stuck in schedule, stuck in reacting, stuck in our way of being.
So, we changed it.
Paul and I have both been struggling with morning meeting because we have kids arriving at such different times – school starts at 9:15. Some kids were having to wait up to thirty minutes to start circle – that is way too long when you are 5, 6 or 7. We were also struggling with getting everything packed into our focus times with snack and outside smack in the middle.
Our new schedule alleviates ALL of these issues and as I have said, it really gives the kids more choices, more power and puts their education in their own hands (to some extent – I do guide them through the morning to make sure all stations are visited.) It also gives two different approaches to the two main subjects (math/language arts) each morning.
We also have found that not going on the hill (our yard is a new adventure now anyway with the remodel) where we couldn’t hear what was being said or being planned and keeping all “battle” type play/drawing out of the classroom has brought about more respectful communication and a new intention in the classroom.
There have also been some consequences instated including losing privileges such as open classroom if any of the “main” rules that we have set as a class are broken. (Of course there are special circumstances and fair warnings.)
It’s a fine balance between letting the kids bring to the classroom their interests and passions and keeping at bay some of those passions that lead to antagonizing behaviors and upset for the community.
Today we had a discussion about the new rules and schedule at circle and everyone (but one) thought it was much better. They like looking forward to starting their day with what they love most in the classroom (stations anyway,) they like running their own snack in the studio, they like moving through the morning at their own pace, they haven’t been missing the hill or frankly playing or drawing “battle”. (There is one I haven’t convinced yet.)
We are challenging ourselves to find “other” interests when drawing, such as, cargo ships, ocean scenes or cities as well as meeting the challenge of coming to one another as Explode the Code buddies or game partners instead of foot soldiers vs knights or Army guys.
Imagine. Can we do it?
I say “Yes we can.” “Yes we will.” We already are.
Thank you for all of the support we’ve been given during this transition. We want our class and our community to be an inclusive, non-violent, exploration of life and LEARNING.