I always thought that one sign of a great teacher was a quiet classroom. I was envious when I walked through the hallway and saw students working silently at their seats. I would close my door when my class got too loud, because I didn't want it to look like I had terrible classroom management skills.
The other day, I looked around my classroom while we were doing a measurement activity, and realized they were being pretty noisy. I gave each of my students a strip of paper, and told them to choose a partner. Their task was to each make one cut on their strip of paper to create a total of 4 strips (2 from each partner). Then, the partners were to use what we've learned about measurement to put the strips in order from shortest to tallest OR tallest to shortest. It didn't matter what they decided, as long as they came to an agreement and labeled their creation correctly.
I got ready to ring my bell and give a reminder, but as I was walking over to the bell, I heard one of my kiddos say to his partner, "No, that one's not taller. You need to align the bottoms." I realized that they were talking MATH! I listened a little closer, and realized my whole class was engaged in math talk. They were noisy, but they weren't talking about recess, what they were doing after school, or their pet hamster. They were doing exactly what I wanted them to do, and they were getting their work done.
This might sound like a great narrative story, but it really happened! I've been thinking about WHY my class needs to be quiet, and I really have no answer to that question except that I've always thought that it meant the teacher had good classroom management skills. But do we really want our students silently doing their work, or do we want students engaged, using problem solving skills, and working collaboratively? My answer is the latter. So, I've decided to spend less energy worrying about how noisy my classroom is, and more energy supporting them in the kind of talking I want them to be doing. I've come to the conclusion that it's OKAY for my classroom to be noisy (although I might have to remind myself of this from time to time :)! )
I don't often do #realtalk on here, but here it is! I'd love to hear your thoughts! Want to save this post for later? Pin the image below!
It's time for Teacher Appreciation week, and I can't help thinking that I couldn't do what I do without the help of my classroom paraprofessionals! I am lucky enough to have a wonderful paraprofessional with me for the morning, and another amazing paraprofessional with me 3 days a week for an hour in the afternoon. They run a small group, help me with students who need a little extra attention, and provide extra instruction for a few of my kiddos who need more one on one practice. They are TEACHERS!
Instead of waiting until the end of the year to thank your classroom or school aides, why not include them in Teacher Appreciation week?! One of my favorite simple, inexpensive, and DIY gifts are these little Mason jars filled with reusable ice cubes and some Crystal Light! I got all of the items at The Christmas Tree Shop (if you've never been to one, you NEED to find one!) and attached a little tag. It's nothing huge, but just a little token of my appreciation to some of the people who help make my classroom run smoothly.
Want to snag these tags for FREE? Click here to download them now!
Don't forget to help us celebrate YOU this Teacher Appreciation Week! Enter below to win a $25 TPT giftcard!