There is an old saying among teachers, that I suspect is a bit of an urban myth. ‘To start the year right, do not smile until Easter’ or words to that effect. Well my year started this week and already my class have been in fits of laughter. It is going to be a good year. Not only have I got a fabulous group of students but I am back working with my friend and teaching buddy Pru. We have already opened our classroom doors to teach together and it felt good to be bouncing sentences off each other again. I am looking forward to the challenges ahead.
My students and I started our year by discussing and reflecting on how we want our classrooms to run. Using posters and sticky notes they considered the following questions:
- What will YOU need to do to be successful this year?
- What characteristics do you want your teacher to possess?
- Our class should be _____ every day?
- School is important because?
- What do you hope to learn this year in year 6?
- What is learning?
As I expected the answers were interesting and reflective. They included.
- Our class should be clean, tidy, organised, fun, exciting, enthusiastic, hard-working and friendly every day.
- School is important because it is where we learn, have fun, meet our friends and more.
- To be successful this year I will need to work hard, listen, be organised, give everything a go, try my best, be focused and more.
- Learning is, building your brain, listening and asking questions, filling your brain with knowledge and more.
I will be using class dojo this year both as my attendance register and rewards system. So after we had discussed our posters we collaborated on setting up our rewards/punishment system. Collectively my students decided that participation hard work, great thinking, quiet work, neat work, effort in homework, listening, interesting questions and helping others should be the basis of our reward points. And that negative points should be given out for no homework, inappropriate behaviour, disrupting the class, too much talking and messing around in the locker room. I will be using my Ipad to give out points and I am looking forward to rarely giving any negative points. Since I am sure that the very act of discussing and deciding what they should be given for was a useful reflective process for them.