As most often happens, my plan for writing goals for ourselves didn’t go according to – well plan. We came back from winter break and needed to readjust ourselves to school by reviewing routines. We came back from winter break just to have a late start to school one day. We came back from winter break and we just needed to get used to each other again.
So our goal setting conversations shifted to this week. This actually worked out better because goal setting ties in well with our character trait for the month Commitment. Our guidance counselor teaches a lesson each month about a particular character trait. Monday, she spoke with the children about commitment and what it means to our goals in kindergarten and for when we grow up. Tuesday, we quickly reviewed commitment in a “little chat” about trying our best and doing our job as students in the classroom. 🙂 Wednesday brought our read aloud, I Can be Anything by Jerry Spinelli.
In this charming picture book, the little boy dreams of all the things he can be – from a make believe critter to a cheek-to-cheek grinner. The kids loved all the things and giggled at many of the pictures. We talked about each of the things the little boy could be. One student said “Um, he needs to pick one!” This led to a discussion of how each of us can be more than one thing. I am a teacher, book lover, cupcake baker, etc. To help prepare us for our writing, we used the app Popplet to create a web on the Smartboard of all the things we can/want to be now and when we grow up.
From there, we went into small group writing. Students made the outline look like themselves as whatever they wanted to be. We have many future police officers, a few doctors, a couple cheerleaders, and even a unicorn! We CAN be ANYTHING!
As the return from winter break approaches, I am thinking of how I can continue to motivate some of my reluctant readers and writers. Before we said goodbye for the holiday break, I had conversations with a few of my students to see where their minds were at. We talk a lot about our interests in the classroom and I try to provide as many resources as possible to supplement these interests. And yet – I still have a couple students who have the knowledge they need but seem less than motivated to use it. They are still relying on teachers and others to help with unknown words. They still need a little hand holding.
I tell parents that January starts our “crunch” time – meaning we really put to use what we learned those first few months. With the application also comes to relinquishing of responsibility from teacher to students. More and more independence becomes encouraged and required of our sweet kinders. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t drop them in to the deep end of a difficult assignment and yell “Swim!”. But I do release their hands, little by little, until suddenly they find themselves accomplishing it alone. For my littles who still aren’t ready, they stumble a bit. They become frustrated and sometimes down right upset that “no one” will help. Then….
The light bulb goes off. The fire catches. The connections are strengthened and extend beyond their wildest dreams. They realize they are doing it – all by themselves. And. It. Is. Amazing.
To help get us ready for the “CRUNCH”, I’m calling on a few of my favorite picture book friends:
After reading and discussing what we would like to accomplish, each student will create a GOAL board. I’m not sure of the format yet, but I’m sure Pinterest has tons of printables if I decide to go that route rather than using their iPads. Goals can be easily incorporated into data notebooks if those are a part of your classroom.
What’s your goal to make it through the CRUNCH?