Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lessons From the Limb #4: The Yellow P Bag and Going with the Flow

First of all, this is NOT an entry about bathrooms, no matter what you thought when you read the title. Get your head out of the gutter, people! We actually have a story and a lesson for you. First the story:

Ms. H (holding up a laminated bag of cards for Top-It): Boys and girls, Ms. B and I have spent a lot of time cutting, laminating, and organizing these cards for you to use. They are organized in a very special way so none of the cards will be lost.

Ms. H randomly reaches in the pile of 40 baggies and pulls out a baggie: For example, here is the Yellow P bag ...


... here is where Ms. H's internal dialogue begins to kick in ...

Ms. H's Internal Dialogue: Oh jeez, I just said "Yellow P Bag"! Did anyone notice? Do I keep going?!? Ok, I'm just going for it!

Ms. H's Actual Words: So please make sure you keep all of the Yellow P cards in the Yellow P bag.

Ms. H peers cautiously out at the class, expecting snickers and potty talk to begin rippling across the group of students ...

(20 innocent first grade faces staring at Ms. H)

Ms. H's Internal Dialogue: Phew! Crisis averted. Thank goodness for innocent firsties. I would have never gotten away with that in third grade. Yellow P Bags, indeed!

And now the lesson. Today was all about going with the flow. Being flexible and going with the flow is a part of every teacher's day, no matter how well laid their plans may have been, because things always arise in the classroom and with the children that are unexpected; anything from teachable moments, to conflicts amidst students, to realizing a better way to frame your lesson plan about 2 seconds into the delivery of said plan. When you're the only teacher in the classroom and a moment comes up, you just adjust your course and move forward, no problem. We've realized that with the two of us, when one of us acts impulsively, the other just has to go with the flow. That is exactly what happened to us today. We work really hard to stay on the same page and talk about things before we do them but sometimes things just come up.

For example, in the morning, Ms. H invented a responsibility behavior goal on the spot inspired by the morning announcements. Ms. B said, "Riiiiiight! Ok, then!"

Then later, Ms. B told the children, "And now we are going to check each of your math journals," as Ms. H was lining them up to put their math work away. Ms. H said, "Riiiiiight! I'll just go get a stamp, too."

Later Ms. B said, "I'm going to show you this on the number line." Then Ms. H said, "Riiiiiight! I'll just go get the number line." Even though these examples are rather silly, we had to laugh to ourselves because they kept happening all day long.

So, the FLY AWAY is take things in stride; go with the flow. As Ms. B says, "It's just like improv. You go with what your partner said and make your partner look good." Again, it's all about keeping your eyes on the larger picture and being more flexible with the details.

But, let's be honest, for anyone who knows us there's only so much flow that both of us obsessive-compulsive control freaks will tolerate. 

From the limb,

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