Sunday, December 11, 2011

the curse has been lifted

I am happy to report that we seem to have solved our bathroom woes. We began our day on Friday with a conversation during morning meeting. The conversation was fruitful, with all agreeing that there should be a change to keep the bathroom space clean. Coming up with a solution seemed difficult - so Ms. Anny and I offered our idea. We let children know that rest time seemed to be a trying time of the day. We shared that we understood it was especially difficult for children who don't fall asleep. Then we offered an idea - what if we offer sketchbooks to children who stay awake during rest time. This idea received a VERY positive response. We laid a few ground rules though for this new procedure. So we took out two of the nap mats and did a little role playing to model the new procedure during morning meeting. We had one friend pretend to sleep on her mat while another child modeled staying awake and using a sketchbook. This is what we decided upon...
  • When the lights go out, everyone will rest quietly for ten minutes. This will give our friends who enjoy napping time to relax and fall asleep.
  • After ten minutes, Ms. Anny and I will come around to give a sketchbook and a crayon to anyone who is awake and wants one. (We're beginning with one crayon and will slowly add more over time).
  • If you have a sketchbook, you have to remain quiet to respect all of our sleeping friends.
  • If you feel finished sketching, you put your sketchbook down beside your mat.
We gave our new procedure a try and it was the most calm rest time ever. Cheer, applause, high-five, yay! The children were happy and we were happy. I think more children even fell asleep - likely because they felt they didn't have to. It was their choice.

Here are the new sketchbooks
It was fun to page through their sketchbooks at the end of the day.

We also created a visual reminder for hand washing. Thank goodness for instant photo printers.

Teaching is a constant cycle of observing, reflecting, and responding. This was a reminder to me that every aspect of the day is worthy of intentional practice - rest time and bathrooming may not seem as important as developing a project but they are. Evey part of the day effects the tone of the classroom. I am so truly grateful for these reminders - it makes me a better teacher.

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