Well, we're 5 days in and I can already tell that this is going to be a GREAT year.
How can I tell so early on? What makes a year "great," anyway?
The answer is simple: chemistry. As a teacher, I can only control so much. I can prepare exciting lessons and choose exciting topics, but my vision will fall apart if the students and I don't spend time at the beginning of the year developing a strong chemistry.
So important is this development that the first few weeks of school center around the non-academic. We take time to meet every morning as a group. We all greet each one another with eye-contact and intention. We take time to share something about ourselves and listen as others share. We practice listening, waiting, and paying attention through team-building exercises. The children fill empty bulletin boards and spaces with hand-made labels, schedules, and calendars. We take the time to pause and re-center anytime things start to go awry, because we want this calm, kind, and cooperative feeling to become a habit.
Without chemistry, collaboration becomes chaos. Challenge becomes frustration. Success is felt by individuals, not by the group.
So, here we are 5 days in, and I can confidently say that this group of 3rd graders is laying the foundation for a GREAT year.
Little people, big minds.