Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Freeze Frame

Hey friends!

Today I wanted to share a little technique I have been using with my students this year to help them with practicing kindness and respect and managing their emotions.

I think we have to acknowledge that first and foremost it starts with us. We need to model to our students what we want to see in them. Wouldn't it be wonderful if that was the end of it but it isn't. Our little people are just that, people, human beings capable of making mistakes.

So I talk to my kiddos about imagining that our lives are a bit like a movie, in that it is a series of frames. During the making of a movie there might be a mistake, the wrong thing being said or something falling over. When this happens they have editors that can take that frame out and replace it with one that will correct the mistake. We call this Re-framing and I teach my littles that when we say things that are not kind or we are starting to feel frustrated we might make a mistake but we can edit it so that it will be better.




An example of this might be a student who may be playing a game in a small group and they accuse another student of 'cheating'. I may go to that student and ask them to reframe what they said to fix their mistake, if they need help with 'editing' their response I might give them an example or sentence starter.

If I can see a situation that looks like it may be escalating quickly I will say "FREEZE FRAME!" this is a signal to that student/s that they are heading into the red zone (we use zones of regulation) and they need to stop and have a break. They can take a walk, have a drink, go to the cool down zone, jump on the mini tramp or whatever they need to do. After they have cooled down, they can then re-frame the situation and fix their mistake.



I have had such great success using this technique and I am now hearing my students using the same language with each other. It also helps them to solve their own problems as they calmly ask someone to re-frame what they said. It allows both parties to maintain dignity whilst practicing kindness on both sides.

What do you think? Would you use this in your classroom?


Monday, 24 June 2019

Curiosity

I know it has been a long time since I have posted and I have just been really investing my time into family and my classroom.  I have felt uninspired with my teaching and I guess I felt like I had nothing to share, that is really the sad fact of it.

BUT!

I have found inspiration again through a Kath Murdoch seminar I have attended this week.  You know when you go to a Professional Development and you want to go back to your classroom and start using these strategies straight away. You try but you have to put all these other things in place first and then it all becomes too hard.  Not this time!

Kath Murdoch teaches with an Inquiry Learning approach. She talks about curiosity and questioning, she talks about wonderings and the beauty that our students find in learning.

It got me really thinking about my teaching practice and how I encourage this in my classroom. I thought I had created an environment that let my students ask questions and explore, but you know what I had only dipped a toe into that pool.  I came back to my classroom after 2 days and I looked at it with a critical eye.  I looked at my transitional art table, I looked at my library, I looked at my Wonderwall.  I knew I could do more.

I made 2 changes that made a difference on the day, I gave my students more choice with the transitional art.  I moved my Wonderwall to the front of the room, I added a photo of each child and made it more visible, I added my own picture and put a wondering there.

Then I thought about how I was going to frame my lessons for the day.  I had scheduled spelling, writing, maths groups among other things.  Previously in my spelling I would have sent them to find words with the long i sound.  Today I asked them a question, What is making the long i sound?  The result was a much broader range of words that we could add to our word wall, they were looking more deeply at the words and where the sound was. They then created categories for their words.

In writing we have been investigating the bandicoots that live in the bushland near our school. We have been incredibly lucky to take part in Nature Play this year and our kids are loving it. There is a resident bandicoot that comes out to see what all the commotion is when our kids are playing there. So instead of framing our non-fiction writing as a research statement, I framed it as a question.

What impacts do we have on the environment of bandicoots?

Image result for bandicoots in tasmania
For those that don't know a bandicoot is a small Australian marsupial.

The engagement was incredible! The thinking and responses were thoughtful and relevant, I even got some further questions to investigate! We did out First Thinking and at the end of our research which will include observing the bandicoots, we will do Second Thinking.

Can you already see the amazing learning that has been happening?
It didn't stop there!

During maths groups I work with a small group for 10-15 minutes so that I can do some explicit teaching and really get a good sense of each child's understanding. I wanted to teach a specific strategy for addition, but I needed to know what strategies these students already had. So I posed this question;
How can you turn 2 numbers into 1 number? 
Can you get a different answer each time?

I'm not going to lie, some of my kids were blank, some of them asked permission to use number line, counters, ten frames all of which I said absolutely!  Here was the really interesting thing I found out, without fail they all used addition with differing strategies. With some of my kiddos I used this as an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions or explicitly teach a strategy. One thing that really jumped out at me is that I need to revisit subtraction.

I am really just at the very beginning of this journey and I am so excited to be able to share it with all of you.