“So, you gonna actually stick to the notebook reflections this year?” My room is often a rest stop for former students who have gone on as juniors to take advantage of the Running Start program at EWU, our local university. Their classes don’t start for another three weeks, but many of them are taking one-to-two classes at the high school, so they need a place to call home a few hours a day. They are always welcome, and as one might gather from the opening quote, they are also comfortable.
Lily, called me out, neither snarkily nor unfairly. I failed miserably at the notebooks last year. She knows it. I know it. But that knowing is what has led me to chase better–way better–with this important aspect of the learning experience. And so, my “do better” has resulted in creating routines as I outlined in my recent post Roles, Routines, Rights, and Responsibilities. I know that if I do not commit to routines, I lack the discipline when things get busy to stick to the plan. And that is why this year, I created the Journey Journal, which I am going to do along with kids. Except, I didn’t. My first fail of the year. It wasn’t until 5th period when the kids were writing their first entry that I realized I was sitting their on my butt, pleased with the diligent efforts of my kids, and I was already ruining the routine. I was forcing the kids to eat their veggies (see quote below from my letter to students) and I was indulging in the dessert of their diligence.
“I hope you discover the power of reflection. I hope my “forcing” you to reflect on your learning each day will help you develop this essential learning skill for life. I will use the broccoli effect for this, “Whether we like it or not, broccoli is good for us.” Whether we like it or not, reflection is good for us. #sorrynotsorry #eatyourveggies #reflectionrules”
So, today, I will go back and retroactively write my first entry. I will also ask the kids to hold me accountable. If they write, I write. They have my permission to call me out. So, when, I am sitting there staring at them, smiling like an idiot, fawning at their dedication, they need to tell me to get to work, to eat my veggies. Dang. Day one, and I already screwed up. Wonder what I’ll screw up today.
Today will be a wee bit of a cluster. Picture day at CHS, and we use the ELA classes for pictures, so consequently, my classes will be disrupted all day long. I have tried in vain to get this changed for years, but I have given up on that battle, and now I just take it in stride.
I will not share grading policies until tomorrow, and I won’t roll out the 4 R’s until next week. Both are important of course, but right now getting to know my kids and setting the stage for the journey, the experience is more important.
Along today’s trail we will…
…begin with Smiles and Frowns
…continue considering, character, community, and conflict with Seedfolks
…work on our Who Am I? Wordles
…capture the day in or Journey Journals
And that’s our day. This weekend, when I have more time, I will look through and share some of the responses from the kids’ grade cards. Today, I am just going to focus on my Journey Journal. I will do better. Have a great day, all.
Do. Reflect. Do better.