Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ACTION! ACTION! ACTION!

April 2017: Action! Action! Action!

Despite state testing in the month of April, spring break, and a multitude of other things we had to accomplish, my students are so excited to return to their research and begin initiating their action projects. During this time, my classroom has been busy with kids talking to adults, each other, looking up recipes, designing corners, writing letters, asking questions, scanning books, and so much more. When I set out on this exhibition, I had no plan or direction for how action would manifest, just that we were going to take action at some point. Last year, my actions had been quick and thrown together. They mostly involved creating a visual of some sort and sharing it with some audience. While there was nothing wrong with that, it was an after thought. This time around, the actions belong to my students and they are honest, raw, and full of continual change. My biggest challenge during this process has been helping the students seek a focus in order to accomplish what they want to set out to do. 
My biggest savior during this period of time has been the return of my research mentors and the addition of new mentors. I created two new sign ups through Sign Up Genius in order to help schedule mentors (example: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090e48afa72eaafa7-action). I also created some essential agreements which I believe to be key to the role of the action and presentation mentor. I shared these out with parents and volunteers through a Screencastify video uploaded to YouTube. The more we get involved, the more people I invite to join us. I was able to reach out to parents in our classroom, board members, teachers aides staff members. I even had a parent who works at one of the local universities ask me if I was interested in her education majors volunteering. I've begun to realize, that I'll take anyone who has a passion to help kids!  


One thing that I believe is so important to the action process is to give up control as the teacher. There is no telling what your students can accomplish when you relinquish control. This last week, I had a student come to me to say she wanted to change what her action project would be. She followed this up with, "You're probably not going to let me do this." I responded with, "Try me." She went on to detail how she wanted to create a slime corner in the classroom that would allow students to interact with slime which can help students with ADHD and stress. It would allow them to relieve their stress. I was surprised with what this student had chosen to undertake all on her own and after talking to her more, it was clear that she had already begun researching different safe recipes for students of different ages. As I wrap up this post, I can't help but share some of the amazing ideas flowing through my students which have impacted ever grade level and area of our school without ever planning to do so. 
  • Mrs. Hughes (4)- Julia would like to teach a 30 minute lesson to your class on different learning styles.
  • Mrs. Neimeister (1) /Mrs. House (K)- Noah, Sam, and Adam would like to temporarily set up an independent corner in your room where students can work better independently.
  • Mrs. Scully- Jake would like to observe your room and create a tool that might help 1 or more of your students learn better.
  • Mrs. Diso/Morris (K) / Mrs. Speith (2)- Bella would like to teach a lesson to your class about bullying and mindfulness
  • Mrs. Medved (1)/ Mrs. Lozada (3)- Carson and Anna would like to temporarily set up a corner with different fidgets students might use to help calm themselves or make them less anxious
  • Ms. Craven (Library)- Danna and Kaylee would like to create a “mystery book” area in the library with a few books
  • Mrs. Winter (BOE)- Dana would like to make a collage board of types of furniture to consider for the new school and present it to the BOE
  • Mrs. Thrasher (4)- Tanner and Luke would like to talk to you and then your class about introducing Bring Your Own Device
  • Mr. Sanfilippo (Principal)- Gabe would like to share recommendations of types of robotics type things to get for the classroom
  • Mrs. Larcey (1)- Loutfi and Jax would like to teach your class how to properly sign in, sign out, and take of the Chromebooks
  • Kevin plans on temporarily setting up 4 colored reading corners to see which colors have different effects on kids
  • Lucas and Charbel are designing a desk organizing tool to help students keep their desk neat
  • Gabriella and Sami plan on using the wheelchair for 2 days to see how kids get around the school and the challenges they might have
  • Lorenzo plans to write a book about creating the ultimate classroom
  • Annabelle plans to create a system for checking out books in our classroom
  • Janiyah plans on creating slime which can be used as a fidget to help relieve student stress and working with Anna and Carson to add it to their corners