After spending weeks establishing our Agreements and Guidelines, one being "We will take care of our classroom and supplies," we are well into October and find ourselves revisiting this guideline on a regular basis. Let me begin by stating that our classroom has many "self-directed" individuals. Individuals that do what is expected and live by the guidelines we established as a class. Unfortunately, the students that are continuing to interfere with our learning continues to hinder our right to have fun. In the past few weeks I have thrown out more markers and glue sticks due to poor treatment. Pencils have been broken into pieces and items tend to go "missing." When students are looking for our stapler and another student reports that they saw two classmates throw it behind the cart of folding chairs in the hallway, writing time is interrupted, instruction stops and class time gets wasted.
We have a combination of brand-new supplies and items that I have had for years. During our last birthday celebration, Angelica held a deflated earth due to it having punctured hole. We got brand-new white boards this year that have been scraped and written on the non-erasable side. Expo pens are pushed in and can no longer be used. Believe me, I can go on and on...
I am writing you this because it makes me think of several things.
1. This has got to stop.
2. I am constantly revamping my classroom management and pulling out all sorts of tricks to establish a more cohesive classroom community. I know there are things I can and continue to adjust on my end.
3. I have been working with the class and am reaching out to you to help with "our kids." This continues to be a problem and talking about this expectation at home can help reinforce positive outcomes at school.
4. It makes me connect with my experience in Zambia this past summer when I went to Dwankhozi school and worked in classrooms that had very limited resources. This is a great way our partnership allows us to learn from one another. My trip there leads itself into a very teachable moment for our students. At Dwankhozi students covered their paper notebooks with newspaper or plastic bags to make them last. They did not have supplies on hand. When we went into the classrooms to do a project and had a couple packs of colored pencils to pass out among the 50-or-so students, they were generous with sharing a single colored pencil with his or her classmates. The students valued that they had an opportunity to get an education and the camaraderie was admirable.
How BIG is your BRAVE? That is our school theme for the month. Sometimes doing what is right takes a little bravery.