Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Has Almost Sprung

Hi, friends. As I watched my kiddos (and 60+ other firsties, though not all by myself) at recess today, I realized how much I missed them over Spring Break. I started watching one of my students intently try to attempt crossing the monkey bars by skipping a bar in between. What is it about that task that makes it a coming-of-age experience for first graders?

I noticed slightly taller students (thus the advantage) skip bars easily and seemingly without effort. I continued to watch as my student tried over and over again. All at once she swung her little body back and forth until she skipped one bar and proceeded to skip every other bar to the end. I could see her grin from ear to ear and knew this would be the one thing she remembered from today and not the lesson in math on related facts.

Meanwhile, I had a short conversation with a student wearing a "Padre Island 2012" t-shirt. The interaction went like this:
Girl: Ms. Talley, look at my shirt!
Me: Cool! Did you go to Padre Island?
Girl: No, we went to the beach.
I had to laugh...and be slightly jealous that she went to Padre, and all I did was go to Houston :)

Later, during math partner games, two students were disagreeing about a game board. I gave one game board to each set of partners to practice with and then passed out an additional one to the pairs when it was time to clean up (so each student would have one to take home). I could hear one boy tell another boy that it was "his" game board. He proceeded to grab at the paper while the other student put it behind his back, all the while saying "nuh-uh". One of the boys approached me to tell me that the other boy had pulled the game board from the clipboard, thus tearing off a corner of the paper. The "tear-er" wanted the "new" game board.

I'm a big believer in having my kiddos solve their own problems / disagreements. I took a breath to gather my thoughts, when all of a sudden, one of my girls marched over to their area, picked up the torn game board, walked over to the complaining student, held out her hand and said, "It's the same thing and you can still play it - here". I stood there speechless. The boy took the game board and went about his way.

As I reflect on today, it made me realize that I need to step back and take in my students' accomplishments whether big or small. If they learn to keep putting effort towards a task that they find difficult and they learn to problem-solve on their own, then I have made a difference.

Although, I would really love it if they were all reading on soon-to-be second grade level and were fluent mathematicians.

Thanks for stopping by! What acts have you witnessed in your students that make you step back and feel proud to be their teacher?


  1. I just love how they are excited to see you everyday! I am a fellow TBTS member and I wanted to come introduce myself. I am looking forward to chatting with you and learning a lot from all the other teachers that have the same goal with their blog!
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

    1. Hi, Shawna. Isn't TBTS great?! I agree with you - we can all learn a lot from each other :)

  2. I am also HUGE on letting them solve their own disagreements. Today some of my girls were obviously having a tiff during reading. I decided not to get involved because they were all getting their work done and girls are crazy anyway so you can't really ever solve their disputes. Suddenly I hear some raised voices and I start to head over when I see two girls move to different parts of the room. I asked one of the girls involved what was going on and she said "We took care of it, we decided J and C needed some time apart." I love it. Less work for me.

    Second Grade Math Maniac Blog

    1. Hi, Casey. Your story about your students was amazing! Thanks for sharing. Absolutely less work for us, and more conflict management practice for our students :)