Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes I’m left wondering if all of the hard work that I am (and my students are) putting into our student led classroom is worth it. I know deep down that it is, but some days are hard, and leave me feeling defeated. But then there are days that completely lift me up and remind me of all of the good that is happening in my classroom. This morning was one of those instances and I feel compelled to share!
This morning, everything seemed to go smoothly. We started off our day with our morning meeting, as we always do. We found a fantastic GoNoodle video for our movement break, which the students aced! Our students this year absolutely love to dance, so we are constantly incorporating this interest into our movement breaks. One student in particular though always stands back whenever we do a dancing movement break. I know that she loves to dance as she takes dance classes and I see her striking different poses with other students in the class from time to time, but her shyness has been holding her back… up until today! Today, she felt comfortable enough to join in with the class and dance her little heart out. It was truly amazing to see it happening! Here’s a short clip of our students dancing.
We finished up our morning meeting, and the helper of the day (who happened to be the shy girl who didn’t have the confidence to dance with her classmates up until this morning) took over to do our morning ritual of the calendar. Without needing any reminders, she flawlessly led the class through the lesson. Her confidence and ability to lead the class has grown tremendously since the beginning of the year and I am so proud of her! I’m equally proud of the rest of my students, who have embraced being passive leaders by letting others shine while they step back. During this student led lesson, my student teacher was able to check in with two boys in the class who were independently following their individual visual schedules. During the calendar activity, these two boys knew that they needed to read their social stories before joining the students at the carpet to finish up the calendar, and that’s exactly what they did. Without needing any reminders from classmates or teachers, the boys took out their stories and started reading them. It was such a beautiful sight to see. I sat back and watched it all unfold and started to get tears in my eyes.
The rest of the morning went on and by the time recess rolled around, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. I also felt so happy and excited that my student teacher got to witness this beautiful example of a student led classroom in action and all of the benefits it can offer. Over recess, I brought her attention to what had happened and explained that we could’ve very well be absent from the class this morning because the students really took the lead without needing our guidance or assistance even once! This is HUGE considering most days, we find it hard to tend to all of the needs of our students while we’re two (or more) adults in the class! So today, while I realize that not all moments can be as perfect as how they unfolded this morning, I am reminded that it can happen, and that that is something we should continue to strive for!
If you want to learn more about having a student led classroom, I strongly encourage you to check out Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz. This book seriously changed how my classroom operates and I am forever grateful!