S'More From The AP
Week Ending Sept. 11, 2015
Celebrating Others - by Mrs. Wroblewski
Sometimes it is important to stop and smell the roses. This is a sentiment I often hear, but do not always do. Time is usually my biggest obstacle with taking in a great view- even when it is right in front of me. I often find myself going from one activity to the next with my students, and I may not always allow time for reflection or applause. One of my goals this year is to slow down a bit in my daily routine, and make time to celebrate my students, and encourage them to celebrate one another.
One of my favorite parts of our school day is when we all participate in a 'Gallery Walk." Our 'Gallery Walk' takes place daily after students have finished writing in their morning journal. We call it a 'Gallery Walk' because we act as though we are at an art gallery, walking quietly, enjoying all the treasures. In reality, we are walking around our classroom looking/reading one another's writing and illustration. We end our 'Gallery Walk' with a fancy whisper clap, and then we start discussing one another's work.
At first, I honestly did not know how this was going to go - awkward silence or all hands in the air. Of course my first graders did not disappoint. They walked around looking at everyone's work quietly and thoughtfully, and afterward they were so excited to share their thoughts about the works that they saw around the room. The smiles that appear on the students' faces as their work is being discussed is priceless, and the positive energy is contagious. Every student shares, and the next day students are eager to get writing so they can showcase their work in our class gallery. With some coaching, students now look at the writer they are speaking about, and share why they like their work. We have gone from, "I like Sophia's work." to "I like Sophia's work because she added a lot of color in her drawing." or "John wrote a lot more today than yesterday."
Our 'Gallery Walks' have become a favorite part of our day, and I am even noticing that the positive energy is spreading into other classroom activities. I know that the time spent celebrating one another is well worth it. My students are eager to share their work with one another, and they have reminded me the importance of slowing down to enjoy the view.
"I've learned that people will forgot what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou
The Strawberry Story - Ms. Hayunga
Reading Mrs. Wroblewski’s positive words, not to mention her great advice, about stopping to smell the roses, reminded me of a story. This is a story about a man hiking through the jungle, when he suddenly realizes he’s being chased by tigers….more tigers than he can count. So he takes off running as fast as he can, trying to outrun the viscous, hungry tigers who are trying to make him their next meal. Soon, the man can run no further – he has come to the edge of a cliff. When he peers over the edge and looks down, he sees hundreds of snakes, poisonous of course, waiting to sink their fangs into his flesh. He has a decision to make, and fast. Jump, and be bitten by hundreds of poisonous snakes or stand his ground and be devoured by the streak of carnivorous tigers. He pondered for a split second and jumped.
As he tumbled down, spiraling through the air, his life flashing before his eyes, he thought desperately of any possible way he could save himself from his impending doom. Then, just at that moment, he saw a branch protruding from the side of the cliff. With all the strength he had in him, he reached out and grabbed the branch. He saved himself!
Unfortunately, his celebration was short-lived for there where the branch attached to the side of the cliff, were a pack of rats, feverishly gnawing away at the wood. The man could hear the branch crack and he could feel himself slip a little lower as the rats continued to gnaw. At that moment, he looked toward the far end of the branch, and saw the most beautiful, plump of luscious strawberries he had ever seen. So, he reached out, grabbed the strawberries and ate them. And that’s the story.
Now you may be thinking, “That’s the silliest story I have ever heard!” Probably….if you view it from the perspective of it being just a story. But think about this….. We all have things in the past that we still tend to worry about – our tigers. And then there are the things in our future that we can’t control that may cause us stress – our snakes. Last, there are our personal and professional trials and tribulations that we deal with on a day-to-day basis – our rats. However, despite all the tigers, snakes, and rats we encounter, there are a lot of strawberries along the way too.
With our students, we can’t let last year’s shortfalls or the fear of where our students will or will not be come springtime sour all the bunches of strawberries we get to witness growing and flourishing every single day. So my challenge to you is to take the time to celebrate with your students –stop and smell the roses, find the strawberries, and celebrate!
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