Over the years as a teacher I have become a tidier, more organized person. I never used to be that way, but my grade sevens now clean their desk, put their chairs away, before they are dismissed. I want respect for our classroom, for our space, and we try to do that. That being said sometimes I LOVE when my classroom is left messy because learning was occurring. Today we had stations of inventions and innovations from Mesopotamia. Students made clay tablets, stylus's, and wrote in cuneiform. They made ships with sails, and they even created rulers to measure cubits, digits, and feet (their literal, actual feet!). They didn't want to stop, and they got to experience what life was like, before we had pen, paper, ferries, jetboats, and even plastic rulers! When that kind of day happens, I am all right that our little old classroom isn't pristine. It reminds me that we are actually doing things; we are experiencing the world. I hope you make a mess sometime soon!
Today I realised how much I need to push this norm in my classroom. Every year I tell students when I give feedback a will avoid negative feedback. I will avoid use of the word "not." Even if it is a simple as swapping, "Billy Bob can't add" with, "Billy Bob should focus on his adding skills." Both phrases speak of BIlly Bob's struggle with addition, but phrase encourages and empowers BIlly Bob to have a growth mindset rather than fixed (which is all the rage these days). This year I am encouraging my students to do the same. Whenever they assess themselves or others, in any way, they must do so and avoid a "not phrase." If they use a "not phrase," I will simply say, "Make it positive." It is tough when you begin, but I am interested to see how my classroom culture might change with this norm. Maybe it will flop, but maybe it will build a group of confident, growth oriented, learners.
If you have never heard of a 180 blog, let me fill you in. #teach180 is all about sharing your daily life in teaching. It is a way of small form blogging, reflecting on what you are doing, and sharing with the world. Check out these...