Sunday, January 5, 2014

Re-teaching Routines

Catching Readers Before They Fall wrote a great post today on the importance of using this week back to re-teach routines and re-build community. Take time to read it- and picture me making the "connection" sign throughout. It speaks so well to exactly what our students need after a 2 week break. 
They write:
Tomorrow I want to be sure and listen to every child. I am sure they will be full of stories to tell and memories to share from their two weeks off. I don’t want to jump right into the new math unit or literacy unit of study right away. I want to make time to welcome the children back to our classroom family, to allow them to reconnect, play, enjoy each other, share their hopes and dreams for 2014 and to ease back into our routines and life in the classroom. 

While she is speaking about a kindergarten class I think it holds true with all of our grade levels. After two weeks off our students are going to need to re-learn the routines. Some are going to need to re-learn to trust us. Some of them haven't been in the best situation over the last two weeks and they may be unable to step right back into the warm community we'd created before we left for break. Re-building trust, reminding them that we love them and are here for them, while also reminding them that our classroom is a place where they can feel secure- they can trust in the routines and in our structure- will allow them to open up and be willing to learn throughout 2014. Taking the time now will give us more time to teach later on. 
Tomorrow will be about patience, but patience now will go a long way.

It's hard as a teacher who pushes into classrooms to find ways to re-teach routines and structures. I haven't done the planning or set the schedule of what needs to be taught when, so a lot of what I'm doing is responding to a lesson sequence that isn't negotiable. But what I can do is make sure that my teacher language- how I remind, redirect, and reinforce the students this week re-teaches the rules and communicates to the students that I believe in them. Repeating "it's only been two weeks, how did you forget x, y, z!" isn't going to help anyone. Instead, "We raise our hands when we need to sharpen a pencil" will go further to re-teach the rules and routines than shaming kids who may have forgotten them.

Take time to read their post!

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