Day 3 Building a Culture

Between doing the Olympics activity, handling first week of school paperwork and learning my warm-up routine we didn’t get to a lot of other math on Friday but I did get to introduce the kids to one of my favorite components of building our classroom culture.  Every student I teach gets a binder ring and each day we watch some sort of motivational video, news clip, or similar item and then I ask a reflective question which they answer on an index card.  We add a new index card each day and by the end of the year they have this awesome little memoir of sorts that they’ve developed daily.  Friday was our first day and I showed my favorite Kid President video.  I asked the kids this question afterward:

“What do you wish teachers saw in you?”

Lots of the responses were sweet but this was my favorite:

IMG_2962Doesn’t that pretty much sum up teaching…Seeing the talents in kids that they haven’t even discovered themselves yet?  I know I teach math and not writing but reading these index cards daily is one of my most favorite parts of my job.  If you haven’t given kids a chance to tell their story yet I encourage you to do so.  You will be surprised at how much it will change you.

Bringing the Ron Clark Academy to Beaumont

We spent Friday afternoon paying homage to the Ron Clark Academy with our weekly team building activity and introduction of our rule of the week.  Soon we will also be recognizing our Golden Equestrian award winner each week but we won’t give out the first one of those until we feel someone rises to the occasion and we don’t know them well enough yet.

I love these weekly team building activities because it gives us a chance to heterogeneously group students and allow them to work with kids they don’t normally get a chance to work with.  It is so amazing to see them in action and observe who steps up as leaders within the groups and how they all seem to come together for the good of the group regardless of their unfamiliarity with each other.

This week we put them in random groups of about 8 and gave them one piece of construction paper, one pair of scissors and one long piece of tape.  Their challenge was to create the longest paper chain they could in about 10 minutes.  Boy did they surpass our expectations….they had great ideas and paper chains that were way longer than I imagined when we started.  We awarded the team with the longest chain E-bucks and also gave another group an E-buck reward because they exemplified what team work should look like.

Our first rule of the week was:

When responding to any adult, you must answer by saying “Yes ma’am” or “No sir.” Just nodding your head or saying any other form of yes or no is not acceptable.

We will randomly reward students with E-bucks this week to encourage them to start using this rule.  We will add a new rule weekly…our goal is to not only teach them to be better academically but socially as well!  So much of what teachers do has nothing to do with content and that is exactly how it should be.  I’ll take teaching kids to be productive people prepared to compete and excel in today’s society any day!

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2 thoughts on “Day 3 Building a Culture

  1. I’ll take teaching kids to be productive people prepared to compete and excel in today’s society any day! — too bad the testing doesnt account for this. Gee, your whole message is outside testing. Your comment about not teaching writing – I changed my description some years back. Instead of saying I was a math teacher I said, I’m a facilitator of expression and (usually) my context is math.

    • I agree with you so much. I wish there was a way to adequately measure the life skills learned in class not just the procedural fluency. The one thing that I do hope is that the focus on building a positive and coherent classroom culture will show in effort given on state assessments. Love how you call yourself a facilitator of expression!!!

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