Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lessons from the Limb #10 - Touchy Feely is Sometimes What It Takes

In our classroom we have many rituals; we thrive on organization, structure, and consistency. One of the structures we have is a Morning Meeting - which we totally invented (Just kidding! We wish!!) - and a Closing Circle to open and close our day. Both of these times are an important aspect of our community building. Morning Meeting gives us a chance to check in with each other as a class, exchange important information, and set a purpose for the day. Closing Circle gives us an opportunity to reflect on the day's events and set goals for tomorrow. While we always like to maximize every spare second of classroom time for instruction, these two rituals are so important that we never EVER skip them (like EVER).

We have been running a collaborative classroom together for the better part of 3 years now (woot! woot!) and in many ways we are a well oiled machine. But in the busyness of keeping our classroom running day to day, we forgot an essential thing - to apply the tenants of our classroom philosophy to our own partnership by having our own Morning Meeting before school and Closing Circle right before we go home each day.

Now to be perfectly honest, it's probably KH's fault that we let our meetings go (We used to have them - guilty face!). See if KM had her way, we would walk around school holding hands and wearing matching sweaters ... literally. And if KH had her way, we would be working with speed and efficiency through our endless to-do lists from the minute we set foot on campus until the minute we left for the day. And even though we are so in sync with each other, we still at times have friction and miscommunications (We know this is utterly shocking to hear but it's true). We would never cut Morning Meeting or Closing Circle out of our classroom day so why did we let it go for ourselves? Sooooo .... we've made a recommitment to having our own Morning Meeting and Closing Circle. We're sure you're dying to know what our Morning Meeting and Closing Circle looks like ... well, be in suspense no more:

Morning Meeting:
1. Say good morning (yeah, sometimes KH can forget this important part - guilty face!)
2. Go over the day's lesson plans and any special announcements
3. Go over any important tasks we have to accomplish - this is really important because KH is a planner and KM is not so it helps both of us to get on the same page about what needs to be done
4. Go over any goals we have for the day

Closing Circle:
1. Reflect on the day
2. Go over the to-do list and decide if any work needs to come home
3. Compliments!!! (This is KM's favorite part)

So the FLY AWAY is this: no matter how well you work together and how much you can accomplish, don't forget to take the time to work on your relationship and connect. Get on the same page about your day and the most essential things that need to be accomplished. Tell your teaching partner what you appreciate about them or something that you noticed that they did particularly well that day. And you could always end your day with an air high - 5 because really who doesn't feel good after an air high - 5? Yee-ah!!

From the limb,

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