Sunday, September 14, 2008

7 Things I Adore About this Class

It will take me a few years of teaching straight 6th grade classes to tease apart which of these are attributes of generic 6th graders, and which are simply unique traits about my current class, but here are my 7 favorite things, so far, about my current students:
  • They can work in small groups, for 40 minutes, with no major hitches. They can work together to complete at least a full page of written instructions.
  • They are already readers and writers.
  • They have a lot of self-awareness. They know what kind of books they like and what kind of writing pieces they prefer to work on.
  • Most of them know all of their basic math facts.
  • They're brave. They've already shared things during our Community Circle time that fourth graders would never share until December (specific fears and hopes).
  • They have "good student" habits, like returning homework and studying their spelling words.
  • They're very compliant and easy to manage. Nobody's had to go to another class for "think time" yet and minus a couple of small ADD issues, there are very few interruptions related to poor behavior/choices.
We've been reading Tangerine as our first read aloud and it's going well. I wish the plot was faster at the beginning, but we're already past that initial steep slope and we're currently enjoying the very thoughtful main character and complex themes.

I've been scrambling a bit to find enough new choice reading books for all the students who I had as fifth graders. That will be my fun, on-going challenge this year.


Mrs. V said...

How often do you do Community Circles, and how do you do them? Community Circles is a new concept for me, but my new school has used them for a long time. I am still trying to figure out the best way to do them with my 6th graders. I thought that you might have some good suggestions since you also have 6th graders. Thanks for any ideas you may have.

AMY S. said...

mrs v.

i run a community circle three or four times per week, right before lunch. i have a list of sentence starters like "I wonder about.." or "I sometimes feel afraid when..." or "A superpower I would enjoy..." This year I don't give them a "pass" option and we can beat the third graders to lunch if we get around our whole circle in a reasonable amount of time. in addition to going around and answering the question or finishing the sentence, we also do "compliments"---a routine i've taught them whereby they may volunteer to give very specific compliments to classmates, who in turn say, "thank you." i usually have to have a specific number of boys who need to give a compliment
as a clearly stated expectation, or else only the girls will volunteer.

if we need to problem solve or plan something, this is the time, although, basic reminders and things to remember to tell your parents or take home i save for just before the release bell.

definitely a routine well worth the 10 minutes per day it takes to implement.

Mrs said...

Thanks for giving more details. I liked your suggestions. So far I had mainly done problem solving community circles, so I like the idea of also having sentence starters. I especially love the compliment idea. Our school also tries to focus community justice on social justice, so I am working on weaving that in as well.

Brenda said...

Cherish your 6th graders! You will not know how much you'll miss them until they move on to 7th grade! They are such fascinating little people!!! What a wonderful grade to teach - my favorite above all!!!

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