Tuesday, February 2, 2010

#2- A smile, a handshake and a good morning to you!

Here goes post # 2 for February--so far, so good.

Okay, so I know a few of you are curious about this all boy class thing. Let me start off by saying I love it, and it works for me, and it can be very rewarding IF you have the right mix of personalities. Last year was my first year teaching all boys, and it was a challenge, and not just because it was my first year doing it. This year, it is so much easier, fun and rewarding and by boys are great. They get long for the most part (as well as can be expected for 8 & 9 year old boys). I love them..I really do!! And many of them were together last year in an all boy 2nd grade class. This is where I give a shout out to my friend Lisa G....she trained these boys right, so it makes my life easier.

So not onto the topic I really meant to write about...the excitement of trying out something new and it going well --the thrill of VICTORY (because we all know how it feels when we try something new and are met the agony of DEFEAT!) Over the weekend a colleague of mine sent me this link about morning meeting. For those of you who don't know what morning meeting is, it is a time you gather your class together to have community-building time..sort of like carper or circle time in the lower grades, but with some added extras. So I watched the video and it had some great ideas. One that stood out to me was about starting morning meeting by greeting one another. EUREKA!! Who would have thought????

All my boys arrive at different times in the morning, and I greet them as the come in. Some greet each other informally as they unpack, make their lunch choice or sharpen a pencil. Our class' equivalent of the office water cooler is the pencil sharpener..trust me, if you want to put your finger on the pulse of what is going on in your classroom on the bus, around the school, hang out and eavesdrop by the pencil sharpener. Oops, I have gone down a bunny trail....

So I decided to try this today at our morning meeting. So I gathered my friends in a circle at the start of morning meeting and I explained to them what we were going to do. I went first to model it for them. I half expected them to look at me like I was insane, or even for some of them to refuse to participate. But I put on my Enthusiasm Hat, and modeled it by turning to my friend to my right, smiling a big smile, reaching for his hand, shaking it and belting out "Good Morning Mr. Carter*" as loud as I could. In return Mr, Carter turned to Mr. Roberts* and repeated the process. And this went on around our circle until it got back to me. NOTE: I address each of the young men in my class as Mr.___________, rather than their first name. This was recommended int he single gender training I attended , and is supposed to instill a sense of respect for each other and themselves.

I discovered a few thing by doing this exercise: 1) some of my friends don't know each other's first names but they certainly know each other's last names...and most of them know both. 2) they made eye contact with each other as they did this--which tells me they are becoming very confident in doing things like this and 3) they really enjoyed it!!!

Okay, what shall I do with my little guinea pigs tomorrow.....????

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