Today I’m thinking a lot about routines. This is probably because this entire week has been one interruption after the next, and the routine I worked hard to establish in the first weeks of school has basically been all but abandoned. There wasn’t much to be done about it. And just as evil helps us appreciate good, dark helps us appreciate light, and January helps us appreciate every other month of the year, these sorts of weeks help us appreciate the routines that keep us from going bonkers most other weeks of the year.
As I stood in the gym today waiting for everyone to have their school pictures done, I was reflecting on the hastily abandoned math activity that was strewn about our classroom. I’ve recently decided that I need to move my math hour to a different time of the day. It’s taken us 3 classes to get most of the way through what should be a one day lesson in the Context for Learning math unit called “Collecting and Organizing”. Why? Well, see, every time we get going there’s an interruption and we stall out. And everyday thinking about the impending lunch break seems to take precedent over everyone’s thinking about math.
When we return from the second of three long October weekends, I’m moving math to a totally different time of day. Instead of having 50 math minutes, it will give me a solid 60, with 20 more straight after so I can spend some extra time when I need to. We. We’ll have extra time when we need it. We need time to do an activity AND Bansho or Congress directly after. Not the day after, but right after. And if we have time to go back to the table for some revisions all the better. Last year I could do a Number Talk before the French teacher arrived & then jump into the lesson when I returned. But it’s just not working this year and I’ve had to really think about why.
I like having things the way I like them, but truthfully I’m the person in the room who is most capable of adapting to the need of the group. After 5 weeks together I can confidently say this group moves at their own pace. They are not in a rush to do anything. So, I can try to get them to transition faster, and get to work faster, and COME TO THE CARPET ALREADY faster. Or I can just move math to a different time of day. Next week I’ll have four uninterrupted (theoretically) days to try it out. I think it will make a difference and we’ll go from things being okay to things being awesome.