We talked in depth about having patience with ourselves and with our classmates at our class meeting on Friday. Several students put the topic of “talking about ST Math and reading levels on our agenda”. Earlier in the year, we had agreed at a class meeting that we would not talk about our reading and math levels with others as it is not important to do so and it makes students feel uncomfortable. Comparing our learning growth to that of our peers is not helpful, as everyone’s brain is learning so many things and it would be crazy to expect the pace to be the same for every brain in every area.
The topic was put back on the agenda because some students were not following this agreement. During the meeting, we went around our class circle and heard from everyone how comments about learning levels has impacted them. Most students commented that comments such as “I am on a higher level than you” has made student feel uncomfortable (frustrated, discouraged, sad, like they want to quit) and has thus “hurt our learning” (their words J).
When I asked the students to show me on their fingers how many things they had learned so far this year in kindergarten, the kids’ eyes got big and they excitedly gestured to me in a variety of ways the biggest numbers they could think of, aware that the quantity could never be captured on their fingers! With that in mind, we talked about how important it is for each student to focus on his or her own learning and to have patience with themselves, knowing that their brains will learn at the speed that is just right for them.
As a result of our meeting, we decided to recommit to our agreement of not talking about our levels. We used our thumbs to show each other that we were in, and then decided to write our commitment on the bottom of our iPad agreement poster (hanging in our window) with the words:
~ We agree to not talk about our learning levels and compare our levels to other learners.
We also started writing our own non-ficiton all about books. This unit focuses on writing to teach others about things we know a lot about. We all know that kindergarteners are experts on a lot of things and have a lot to share about what they know. This is a great chance for them to see
the connection with "reading to learn new information" with "writing to teach people." We started off this unit by making a list of all the things we are experts on. Cassie and I will be introducing the different components of nonfiction writing as the unit progresses. These will include a table of contents, chapter headings, scientific diagrams, ect. Their final product for this unit will be a collaborative nonfiction book about an African Animal for our PBL project.
After generating our expert list, the students dove into their writing! They are writing books about classroom jobs and families and sports and school and games and birds and animals and so much more! Get ready to learn, as our goal is to get these finished All About Books out into the world to teach others what we know!
In the coming weeks, we will continue to practice our patience as we move into our collaborative animal work.
This week, we will be doing some collaborative creation work in our literacy groups and then use a collaboration rubric to assess our collaboration. We will also be reading more non-fiction books to learn what life on the African Savanna is like.
Enjoy your week!