Friday, October 15, 2010

It's the little things...

I've been in a kind of a slump the past few weeks.  School has been bumming me out.  Frustration has been taking over.

I've done two little things in my room that have gotten me a tiny bit out of this slump.  They both come down to one little word.


1. During our study hall time, it can get loud.  I get grouchy.  So, I put together a Grooveshark playlist.  I asked each of the students to tell me a couple of their favorite (school appropriate) songs and made a list. I now play that in study hall and it's lightened the mood. It's also a lesson in tolerance of everyone's music tastes.

2. My students share about their independent reading with me once a week.  For the last three years, the students have turned in a letter written in their notebook in classic Fountas and Pinnell style.   Now I have 3 options for the students.  They can turn in their letter, record their response on our new Flip cameras from Digital Wish, or blog their response on our classroom blog.  I've already had 3+ students blog their responses and two students record their responses on the Flip.  I'm especially excited because the two students who recorded their responses on the Flip are students who usually have late letters.  I think the writing aspect of it was hindering them.

This week, my burdens and feelings of burnout have been lessenedChoice can be a little thing that can make a big difference.

What are some little things you do in your classroom to encourage choice?


  1. I really like the idea of letting students choose how they will respond. I'll be stealing this idea. I think my kids would really enjoy using the Flipcam. Maybe we could have them add to a Wallwisher too.

  2. Steal away, Barbara! Do you have permission for posting pics/videos of kids online?

  3. Becky,

    I think that your willingness to troubleshoot and solve problems is exceptional. I think that we constantly need to be reflecting on what works and trying new things. We need to be flexible and willing to challenge the idea that things have to be the way they've always been.

    In my classroom, I always give students choice. This is usually a choice in process. They have guidelines, but can create the final product using the images, sounds, text, etc.... of their choice. Eventually, they will get to use the tool of their choice.

    If we don't change and adapt we will, as you state, 'burn out.'

  4. Thanks for the comment, Mary Beth! Flexibility is key. I learn that lesson again every year. I'm always changing something for the better!

    Sometimes I think kids are taken aback with choice. They are so used to being told they must do it a certain way that their reaction to choice is interesting sometimes!

  5. Hey Becky,
    My name is Leslie Ketchum and I am currently enrolled in EDM 310 under Dr. Strange at the University of South Alabama. I enjoyed reading your post. As a student myself, I do get bored of the "same ole, same ole". It is important for there to be change in the classroom to keep the students attention.
    I will be visiting your blog again next week and will be posting a summary of my visits on My Blog. Feel free to contact me there.

  6. Leslie,
    You are right, the "same ole, same ole" can get wearing. I teach in a small school, so by the time these kids are in 6th grade they are just sick of each other. The beginning of the school year isn't new and exciting for friendships, it's just the same old kids doing their same old things they did last year and the 5 years prior.

  7. Hi Becky,

    My name is Gaillard Broughton and I am in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at The University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed this blog post about choice. You can either choose to do what you have always done or try to solve problems in a creative way. You did just that! I hope I will be able to solve problems creatively in my classroom. I also found it great that the two students in your classroom who are usually late with schoolwork actually got their work in on time when they could use technology! That is awesome. Kids are motivated in so many different ways. I will be visiting your blog again next week and will post a summary on my blog. Feel free to check it out.

  8. Thanks, Sydney! Good luck in your educational adventures! You're getting a great glimpse into the real classroom by checking out all the blogs you do!