First 2 Days – New Routines

We are two days into the new school year. Our building is hot and humid, but it has been a pretty good start-up. Some construction at our school prevented most teachers from getting into their classrooms until the morning of the first day of classes, which made yesterday a bit frantic, but we all survived.

This year we will be starting each period with a ‘class meeting.’ This move was inspired by some amazing educators (Sarah McLeod and Monte Syrie, among others) and I have decided to adopt this practice in order to build a positive, supportive classroom culture. The norms we have set for the class meeting are that we stand in a circle and face each other, and each person has a chance to share something. While someone is sharing, there is an expectation that others listen. Each person can share something about themselves, an idea, a story, a concern…anything that they feel they’d like the group to know. As an alternative, students can simply say ‘pass.’

As I expected, things were a little awkward yesterday and today as we explored this new routine. We had more passes than we had people sharing, which I expected, though we did have each person share their name to help us all learn them. We discussed the expectation for listening, and acknowledged that sometimes it is a challenge to actively listen to each other. We decided it was OK if your attention wandered, but agreed that it should not ‘look’ like your attention is wandering. πŸ™‚

I’m excited to see where this routine takes us, and how it might change the vibe in the first couple of weeks of school.

3 thoughts on “First 2 Days – New Routines

  1. Good for you! Your meetings will make an incredible difference in your class. I know it may seem disappointing because of the “pass” happening more than active sharing but that will honestly fade. Demonstrate your appreciation to the “risk takers” at the end of the sharing circle. Dont even give notice to the number of passes. I have done sharing circles as young as Kindergarten. We use an object that the speaker holds to signal who has the turn to speak and allowing the students to review the norms before each meeting is another key. It won’t be too long before the students get bored of saying pass and begin to value that they have the chance to share what’s on their mind. Stick with it!

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