Monday, October 19, 2015

Wait for it...wait for it...

Principal ponderings...
We live in a fast-paced society.  We can get what we want whenever we want by simply hitting a few keys on the keyboard.  In fact, thanks to Siri, we don't even need to type, we can get answers as soon as we push a button and ask for an answer.  We avoid waiting as much as possible.  If you don't want to wait for commercials to end to get back to your show...we have DVR functions that allow us to pause and fast forward shows.  If you don't want to wait in line at Disney World, then all you have to do is buy a 'skip the line' pass and you can avoid waiting in line.  If you don't want to wait for someone to ring you up at the grocery store, then all you have to do is go to the scan your own aisle.  We don't do well with waiting.

But in the classroom, we need to try to remember to allow for waiting.  Considering how fast-paced our world is, it is extremely difficult to think about and incorporate wait time in our teaching.  This is coming from the queen of fast talking herself!  I remember when I was teaching, feedback from peers that observed me usually centered around me needing to slow down my speech and then also reminding me to give plenty of wait time when asking students questions.  

Research shows that wait time means 3 to 5 seconds.  When you have 20+ little faces staring at you on the rug, 3 to 5 seconds can feel like an eternity.  But it is important to give that wait time.  Research has also shown that when teachers utilize appropriate wait time, they end up with more students participating in discussion and students doing more thinking.  Which is what we want.

It's certainly hard to watch yourself and see if you are remembering about wait time.  You can always invite a peer in to do a specific observation.  I am always willing to come in and be an extra set of eyes as well!  You can even think about trying to do some internal counting...even do more than 5 seconds, over-exaggerate if you need to in order to turn it into a habit.  In the past, I have even had teachers who have asked another adult to do a quick video using their phone or used the audio recording function on a phone and then listen back to hear and track how much wait time you are using.

This week, as you are working with the whole group or even when you are working one on one with a conscious of your wait time.  Are we giving all of our kids time to think and respond? 

Currently reading:
Even though I have listened to others read it, I have not actually sat down and read the book How Full is Your Bucket For Kids myself.  So Friday afternoon, at the end of a long short week...I read it and thought about how I will work on filling people's buckets this weekend and next week.  I have a copy in my office if anyone wants to read or reread this book to their class.
I started reading Cynthia Lord's second book in her Shelter Pet Squad series: Merlin.  It's a cute story about a ferret and how a 2nd grader overcomes some obstacles, like being the youngest, to be a helpful member of the Shelter Pet Squad.   As soon as I finish, the book will be donated to our library.  Thank you Cynthia Lord for sending it to us!
After spending some time last week with the poet, Andrew Green, who worked with our 4th graders, I realized I had not read poetry in a while.  So I picked up my book of list poems called Falling Down the Page.  One of my favorites from this collection?  "Book Time" by Avis Harley because it starts with the line "Some many places to read a book" and it ends with "Where do you like to read your book?", with lots of places listed in between those two lines.
I think I shared this at the beginning of the school year, but I am also reading a great book with the district school leadership team.  It's called Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well.  It is rather interesting, and I'm learning a lot from it and am able to apply that learning each day in a different way.

Events this week:
**K and 1 will have vision and hearing screening this week in the conference room.
Monday - 4th grade field trip to Mt. Wachusett, Latin class @ 3:30, Mandarin Chinese @ 3:30
Tuesday - 4th grade field trip to Mt. Wachusett, Optional forum with Dr. Rodriguez @ 3:30, Acting Crazy enrichment class @ 3:30
Wednesday - Liz out of district, 4th grade field trip to Mt. Wachusett, Grade 2 Chorus practice @ 2:25, Staff meeting @ 3:30, Spanish Club @ 3:30
Thursday - Dianna attending Anxiety Conference, Chinese Acrobats presentation 2-4 in the PAC @ 10:00
Friday - Liz & Dianna at SLT @ Prescott in the am

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Most teachers had all day to focus on unpacking Eureka math modules.  I spent time with several special education staff members working on planning for our sub separate programs at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • Wendy Kelly and Amanda Shumaker attended the first session for district CPI training.  Not sure what CPI is?  Ask one of them!
  • I was in Mrs. Spiczka's half day K class and happened to catch Mrs. Shreve who is coming in to work with small groups of students.
  • I was glad that I popped into Mrs. Nissi's class when Andrew Green from Potato Hill Poetry was doing his presentation.  I enjoyed writing with the students and watching him inspire everyone to write about "small things."

  • Thank you to Karen Tuomi and Officer Henehan for coming to our Friday para meeting and following up with more training/discussion about our lockdown drills.
Check it out:
Here is a good post about getting kids to pump up the volume in writing...getting them to write more.

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