Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Tiny Packages

“Good teachers don't approach a child of this age with overzealousness or with destructive conscientiousness. They're not drill-masters in the military or floor managers in a production system. They are specialists in opening small packages. They give the string a tug but do it carefully. They don't yet know what's in the box. They don't know if it's breakable. ” 

As C. jumped out of his chair and half scampered half ran across the room, I shouted in a near shriek, "What went through your head as you ran across the room?? What made you think that was a good idea?!" He retorted with a raspy voice and attitude beyond his 5 years "I don't know." and sauntered with muscle-less legs and arms to the rug where he sat doing nothing until his bus was called. 
Same child who by 10:30am had drawn a yell, "UNBELIEVABLE" from my lips though I was determined to be patient and loving today (and always). He was copying every word his neighbor at my small group table, S. read in the guided reading book. But every word was WRONG and he wasn't even on the same page. REALLY?! 

W. on the other hand had spent the ENTIRE day rattling his own bones, shaking, bouncing, responding to every thing I said, not listening to directions, and a whirling tornado of terror. 

C. ? A ticking time bomb...waiting for him to explode in a fit of rage. 

J? Ok today.... but nonetheless trying. 

the list goes on ... I was not an expert at small packages today, I was a witch tearing through their baggage, their layers of learning, their sleepiness, or even their wonderful 5 year old personalities. They were packages of TNT today - in my defense....but I wasn't gentle, I was chilly and impatient and I hope I am not causing moments that ruin school for W, C, J, angry C, and others.....

B on the other hand? a wonderful transition .... he is new to us - only a week and 1/2 and he has had some tough days but today was not one of them. The transition from a self-contained classroom to our room is certainly exhausting for everyone and it's bundle of differences and situations I am unfamiliar with but it is a learning experience and it's good. 

I decided I had to force myself to reflect on positive so I don't forget why I'm in this...

Ventured into unknown waters this week - real Writer's Workshop ... with no prompt and only the expectation that my students write the whole time, use our writer's rules (finger spaces, lowercase letters, etc) and a functional, usable mini lesson. Results week 1? AMAZING - great quality writing, everyone has something to tell and is doing it effectively. They whined when the timer went off yesterday - actually whined. I was overjoyed!! : ) 
Next step? small groups in writing .... yikes.