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. 🙂
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.