Thursday, July 2, 2015

Learn Like A Pirate: Responsibility

Welcome back to the Learn Like a Pirate book study, hosted by the Primary Gal! Chapter five is all about responsibility!

Paul starts off this section by stating, "Students need to feel needed and relied upon. And they need to know what tasks need to get done each day and week, as well as how to do them." To do this, Paul assigns some jobs that need to get done every day in order for the classroom to run smoothly and effectively; however, most responsibilities he keeps free for everyone to share. This way students share responsibility for the classroom.

Ever since I moved to fourth grade, I have always struggled with classroom jobs. I have tried assigning jobs to each students. I have tried having group jobs, like "crews". Both had some success, but, in reality, they created more problems then they solved. Students often forget to do their jobs and didn't truly take responsibility for them, while, other times, certain students did ALL the jobs ALL the time. Often times, I spent way more time after school, cleaning up the classroom and getting it ready for the next day. After reading through this section, I know I need to make some changes next year!

Next Year's Goal:
The first thing I need to do is decide which responsibilities need to be done every day so the classroom will run smoothly. As I think about it, some of these jobs will include:
  • Mail Distributors: Pass out all flyers, packets, homework, etc. that get sent home each day or week.
  • Absent-Minded Professors (Paul's Title): Responsible for collecting work for students who are absent.
  • Lunch Helpers: Take and collect the lunch bin from the cafeteria. 
  • Laptop Cart Monitor: Passes out the Chromebooks each morning, collects them in the afternoon, and makes sure everything is charging correctly.
  • Recapper, Evaluator, and Announcer: Responsible for different parts during our end-of-the-day meeting.
The second thing I need to do is decide which responsibilities ALL students can be in charge of, such as putting classroom library books away, wiping down the whiteboard, emptying the pencil sharper, wiping down countertops, putting away center materials, etc.

The final thing I need to do is make sure that everyone gets a change to lead and be responsible. To do this, I am planning on doing lessons throughout the year about what makes a good leader. One of the lessons I know that I will be doing can be found on 3rd Grade Thoughts called, Bosses and Leaders.

One of my favorite sections in this chapter was on rituals. Paul states, "Our schedule is posted for all to see, and, for every reoccurring activity, we have a ritual to guide us through the process. So from walking through the door in the morning to going home when school ends, they know what to do, when to do it, and how it needs to be done. These rituals make it easy for students to lead." Rituals are not routines, though. Rituals are activities that follow a similar pattern each day, but are motivational in nature and are anticipated by students because they know what to expect and can take charge without being asked.

Last year, I really struggled creating a consistent schedule due to all the interruptions that would occur throughout our school day. My school is not on a master schedule, so we constantly had programs happening at different times each day. Sometimes it was for fifteen minutes, others forty-five. It was inconsistent and took away from being able to create rituals in my classroom. 

However, I was able to create rituals in reading. My students knew what to expect when it came time for our literacy centers. They knew where to find the directions and materials, could get started on their away, could ask and answer questions of each other, and didn't need my help. Our centers aways ran smoother than any other part of our day and the students and I both enjoyed them! 

Next Year's Goals:
In order to create rituals in my classroom, I first have to have a consistent schedule. As of right now, I have created a schedule for Monday-Thursday, with most of my specials (once or twice a month) happening on Friday. My plan is to post my schedule in my room with the correct transition times, so that my students can be in charge of letting the class know what it is time to change activities. While this is scary to be, because I am somewhat of a control freak, I know that it'll make my students more responsible and allow me to focus more on my teaching, instead of keeping time. So far my schedules looks something like this:

Math Workshop: 9:00 - 10:20
Mentor Sentences: 10:20 - 10:42
Recess: 10:42 - 10:55
Reading Workshop: 10:55 - 12:15
Lunch & Recess: 12:15 - 12:50
Picture of the Day: 12:50 - 1:00
Paragraph of the Week/Essay of the Month: 1:00 - 1:10
Writers Workshop: 1:10 - 1:55
Vocabulary: 1:55 - 2:12
Recess: 2:12 - 2:25
Science/Social Studies: 2:25 - 3:10
Read Aloud: 3:20 - 3:30
End of Day Meeting: 3:30 - 3:45

I am sure I will make some changes as I refine it a bit!

Once I have my schedule posted, I need to make sure that students know what is expected of them for each activity and be consistent with it. This way students will be able to lead the transitions and help their peers. I can't wait to really start digging into this! I know it will transform my teaching and classroom management next year!

Thanks for stopping by! I know that was a lot to take in. I would love to hear how you encourage and teach responsibility in your classroom in the comments below?

If you want to hear from others, please check out more posts on the Primary Gal! Next week we will be talking about active learning! Yay!

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