I received a tweet Sunday night asking me what I might be changing in my classroom to start the new year. At first I wasn't sure I was going to change anything. I pondered my friend's question and realized I had something I wanted to change and then it turned into three things and within a 140 character tweet x 3, I started getting worried. I could feel the wheels turning and warming up to the idea that school was less than 24 hours away but I didn't want my friend to feel like I was off and running at the track so I clarified by ideas by saying we are going to ease back to school life tomorrow and this week.
Fast forward to the morning and my students are arriving and I was ready to ease into our day. I knew I needed to create opportunities for talk right away because I hoped they would be excited to see each other. We started our day with a Find Someone Who...people scavenger hunt. It was so fun listening to my second graders ask friends different things on the search and learn about their winter breaks. They were smiling and so happy to see each other.
We gathered for our morning meeting and started to review our normal morning routines. Some days our meetings include a question, Who has something to share? However, after every break I want everyone to share so we can catch up with each other. After we each shared something from our winter break, I soon realized they wanted to connect and talk about things they had just heard. So we took a few moments to find a partner and talk before we were scheduled to be in PE. While my students were in PE, I reflected on our morning and realized - they need more time to talk and wondered how could I fit that in with my ease back plan.
This is what that looked like.
- Turn and talk during our picture book read aloud.
- Allow little side conversations while doing a writing piece for our PE teacher.
- Turn and talk during our new chapter book read aloud.
- Talk while figuring out Which One Doesn't Belong?
- Play math games with a partner for math workshop.
Easing into our day combined with social interaction made it a great first day back!
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