Five For Friday

Happy Friday!
After the first week back that sure sounds nice!

This is my first year working all year with younger students so it's interesting seeing how they react to the holidays and act at different times of the year. Monday I came in tired. Middle school students (who I worked with two years prior) usually were tired too. We would sludge through the day in tired solidarity. The younger kiddos? Oh my! They were filled with energy! But by Tuesday I was thankfully back in the swing of things!

 I spent the first week reviewing with my students rules for the library. We had touched on this a bit in the beginning of the year of course but I wanted to set the tone and review for the rest of the year - fine tuning behavior expectations and taking the opportunity to address some issues that had come up. 
I started with reading a book called Know and Follow Rules on the SMARTboard drawing attention to the different ways the students were behaving in the story.

Then I presented the students with some scenarios specific to media and  had them turn and talk about what they would do. Some of the scenarios included 'What do you do when you are working on the computer and you get stuck?' and 'If a student is running around chasing other students during book check out, what should you do?' (Yes, that sounds silly but it unfortunately has happened and needed to be talked about). Another scenario I decided to add after an incident where one student tattled on another for not talking about the question I asked during turn and talk was 'What should you do if a classmate is doing something wrong or not following directions?' (I'll be talking more about my crusade on tattling in number three!).

After this on Monday the students went on Google Drive to create a collaborative class presentation of their own rules for media along with pictures. Oh boy that was a mess! If you've never used Google Drive and its apps: they are collaborative as in multiple people can be in the same document at the same time editing it simultaneously. Awesome right? Well yes if your collaborating with other teachers. Or you're high school students. AND YOU KNOW NOT TO DELETE OTHER PEOPLES WORK. Okay now glad I got that out! ;) Lets just say the students found it fascinating that they could see their classmates work but they were accidentally deleting each other's work and typing on each other's slides. Oh boy! I approached using Google Drive completely wrong - instead of using this time as a time to explore and experiment I expected them to create a product right away. Lesson learned! 

For Tuesday I decided just to stick to using MaxWrite (a kid friendly version of Microsoft Word) and focus on the skill of naming and saving their document to a specific folder. Tuesday's lessons went SO much better than Mondays! Phew! 

I definitely do want to return to Google Drive but more as an exploration. I was also thinking of grouping students: instead of having the whole class in one document, I could group them into 3-4 students each based on the computers they sit at that way the can talk to each other and they can see what the other students are doing in a limited, focused way. 

 And here starts my crusade on tattling. As I mentioned in two, there was an incident Tuesday where a student (Let's call him Student A) tattled on another student (Student B) for being a little silly when he was turning and talking. I should clarify that Student A was not partnered with Student B. Student B's actions had no effect on Student A. But when B saw A tattling on him he got mad and said some unkind words to A. I had B stop and think because unkind words are never acceptable but I have a secret to tell you: I kind of understand why B got upset: yes, he was being a little silly with what he was saying but it wasn't offensive, it wasn't mean, no one was hurt and it was actually about the question I asked (what do you do if you get stuck on the computer). 
Now I've never been one to blatantly, flat out say "No tattling!" Because at this age I think that would lead some students to not tell me things that they should share. But because I've never addressed the issue, I have about ten students a week tell me things that honestly are very low on my radar. After this incident I realized that while the tattling wasn't happening that often, I needed to address it because it was leading to hurt feelings. By ignoring addressing tattling, I wasn't setting a boundary for where I stood with it. What did I consider tattling? What were the sort of things I wanted to be told? 
I sought out information on tattling and found this article. My favorite quotes from it are:

"I do, however have a theory about tattling especially at the second grade level. Second graders seem to be the worst, or is it that they are the best tattlers in the world. Tattling is extremely important to a second grader and I often just tell them, "Thank you for telling me" and ignore it. Sometimes it is something out of my control and I tell them I will look into it. I'm not convinced that squashing tattling completely is the right thing to do. I have come to the conclusion that at second grade something is going on developmentally. The children are highly aware of what you have set down as a rule and are becoming aware that so many children are not following the rule that you set up as a rule. I think they are really dealing with the issue of "you said this is a rule and we should all follow it...but I see so and so is not following it, and when I tell you, you get after me for telling you, so exactly what is a rule. Is it a rule if you don't get caught. Which rules are the ones that we really have to follow all the time and which rules are only sort of rules." As they go through this process of tattling, they are developing a sense of what a rule is and that we definitely do not follow through every time a rule is broken. I think they are getting a sense for what are really rules (better not hit someone ever, and verbal abuse is not too good, but one can get away with it a lot...) and which ones are just guidelines that we use to keep our classes fairely quiet--the children eventually learn what your limits are, just how much talking is allowed during quiet work time, walking in line, waiting for the assembly to start, what ever. I think tattling definitely helps children develop this sense." (Sorry I know that was long!)

"Maria Montessori found that children tattle because they are trying to figure out the difference between right and wrong so they have to question every thing. Between 1st and 2nd grade is prime time for that stage of development. They are only wanting you to confirm their assumption that the thing they are tattling about was wrong or a bad thing to do or say. It is not necessary to impose punishment on the person they are tattling about or to confront the other party immediately, they just want confirmation or not."

And a way to clarify if something was worth telling:
"A couple of things I've used in the past include: 1. Tell the tattler, "Are you trying to get someone in trouble or out of danger?" The younger students understand that! 2. We also used "M.Y.O.B." or "mind your own business"--my students loved it because it was like a secret code. All I had to say was, "M.Y.O.B." and they loved to spell it out. There will always be students who tattle more than others, just be patient with them. Talk with them on an individual basis about the difference between tattling and informing."

I also like this article for its realistic and practical look at tattling (or reporting as he calls it). 

As I mentioned above I added a question about tattling to the scenarios lesson. I wanted the kiddos to think about what is pertinent to share with me and what they need to talk to themselves or their classmates about. I'm thinking about adding a tattling box to my classroom but I'm going to try addressing it first then go from there. What tips do you have for students eager to keep tabs on their classmates?

Here is the To Do list (or Wish List) as I called it from before the vacation. I'm pretty happy that I got most of it done! Did I get all of it done? Nope definitely not! But I made progress and I relaxed which is important! 

 I mentioned in my last Currently post that I had signed up for a virtual race sponsored by Run the Edge to run 2,015 miles in 2015. Which comes out to 5.5 miles a day. Which doesn't sound like much until you consider that's 7 days a week, week after week after week. I'll obviously need rest days so that means tacking 5.5 miles (with one rest day a week) onto my other runs. Or 11 miles if I take two rest days (which is what I normally do). Anyway you cut it I have  to run 38.5 miles a week. Which isn't too bad. I mean I ran 40 mile weeks this summer...when I wasn't working! So far what I've been doing is running right when I leave work. It prevents the whole 'Oh I'll do it later' and clears my mind from work stresses. I'm a little apprehensive about this journey but something tells me that if I keep with it, it'll be worth it. I'll be sharing my progress here every once in a while just to keep myself accountable. Here is my mile totals for January so far:

I'm currently right on track! Yea!

Bonus 6: Glee airs tonight! That's all;)

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