Warm Fuzzies are an incentive Tahra has started in our classroom in an attempt to encourage teamwork in different aspects in our classroom. Here are my thoughts:
Warm-Fuzzies: First, I think the way that the "reward" was phrased, "It's a celebration of the way we've worked together..." I feel that the emphasis is on working together, not getting the reward. [However, no matter what way we spin it, all the class can talk about is the 'party' we'll get if we fill up the jar. Sigh.] This is a system I think I can get behind [more than others I've seen.] It helps them monitor & self reflect on how well they are working together as a class. How can we ensure that the motivation to be a team extends beyond the extrinsic, i.e. parties, and becomes something that is desired because it enables us to love, learn, and live better together? I have to be critical of it, because the message it's sending can often be accidentally twisted into one where the reward isn't knowing someone or getting to a greater learning goal together, but it's something physical, something sugary. I'm torn. But also, I know that 3rd graders sometimes, depending on the group of kids, have to be taught how to work as a team. Tahra sensed that what she'd been doing all year wasn't working... so she moved onto a different motivator. I can only hope that the joy of working in a team far outweighs the fleeting pleasure of luxuries. Isn't this how I operate at times? I love God because of what I get. I get peace, I get confidence, I get greater purpose. All of these great and noble things. Yet, I miss out on His purpose for loving Him in the first place... to know and enjoy and delight in who He is. So again I ask, when does the motivation morph from outside sources to something deep within me?
I'll be able to expound upon this a little more from the realm of a classroom as soon as I have my own. What a day.
Today while Tahra was gone: It felt like chaos, BUT I felt confident that I knew what was going on IN the chaos. Will my classroom be chaotic? Honestly, my life has always felt chaotic, so maybe. But I hope not always. Yes, some ofthe chaos was NOT learning centered, e.g. Amanda throwing pencils, BUT most of it was cntered around talking about the problem of the day, figuring out a math game, coming to me for a quick check, etc. It felt good, like there was something going on that was good and exciting. It boosted my confidence in myself and upped my perception of my capability.
Book Clubs: Charlotte's Web
1st... writing strategies for each book club job (Discussion Leader, Word Finder, Summarizer, Connecting to the World) was helpful, at least for ME, in helping me more fully explain the jobs. Book clubs are great because its centered around something so failproof. The point of the book club is just to discuss and enjoy a great book! The benefits of discussing and being so intentional about finding interesting words, coming up with juicy questions and summarizing are that our comprehension of the plot, characters, and purpose of the author increase, we learn and become comfortable with new vocab. and learn how to compile information and pick out important pieces of info.
-I loved that I got to connect TAKS strategies to reading a really great book. (Inspired by Amira's connection of course.)
-I love that teching a great piece of literature is so easy. I always want to teach good books. They really just teach themselves.
-I want to be able to move out of the book club and watch the group go. I want students to be able to look that deeply and intentionally into a book.