Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Sayings: Find a Connection



Yesterday I pulled Jake's name out of the hat.  His name, the most important word in the world to our friend, became our teacher.  Their names are powerful.  Anytime I'm wise enough to connect our learning to them, engagement unquestionably increases.  Here's a list of a few of the things his name taught us.
  • Use complete sentences when answering questions and when writing.
  • Writers return sweep when they run out of space.
  • Names are made out of letters, not words or sentences.
  • Names begin with a capital letter.
  • Words are made of tall, small, and descending letters.
  • Words are made of claps, soon to be called syllables.
  • Rhymers are good readers.
  • Words can be pulled slowly out of the mouth.
  • The letters in a word can't be mixed up.  That word will always be spelled the same.
  • The letter e at the end of a word is silent and can make the other vowel say its name.
This week I introduced writing workshop.  Writing is always centered around their lives, stories, interests, and topics.  All their abilities are different, but they're all engaged.  I can't imagine the frustration of convincing little people to become writers if daily writing consistently revolved around my interests, prompts, or topics.

A few days ago we used our math journals for the first time. "There are 10 boys, 13 girls, and 1 teacher in our class.  How many people are there?  Solve it in a way that makes sense to you."  They instantly began crunching numbers and solving in various ways.  Every problem we tackle in those journals this year will be about them.

There's another side to this story though.  I can also envision the times when I've worked way too hard to drag some interest out of them.  I've witnessed the glazed over looks.  I know what it's like to lose them and then try to teach, while putting out small but frustrating behavioral fires.  I suppose there are several factors to consider and analyze when situations like this arise, but maybe much of it could be avoided and time saved if I had thought through their interests first.  Here's what I want to keep in mind for the next nine months.  If there's a connection to be made, start there.  If there's not, look harder.  Find one.


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16 comments:

  1. Well said, Tammy! Engagement certainly increases when we embed personal connections into our daily lessons.

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    1. Connie, I think most of the time I remember this, and there are the times when I need to be much more purposeful and intentional. It really does make a difference, huh?

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  2. Thank you, Tammy! You've really got me thinking about using the kids themselves more. You're right about keeping lessons close to home and making connections that will engage my kiddos. I love the list of things that one name can teach. Have a wonderful year. I just finished my first week with my kiddos.
    Claire
    www.firstgradesmarties.blogspot.com

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    1. Claire, congrats on finishing up your first week. That's an accomplishment in and of itself. Their names are full of promise. I'm sure I could do an even better job of accessing them.

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  3. Such a great reminder (as usual! :). I always liken it to when I sit through pd myself. If they are talking about things that I can't make a connection with in my classroom, then it's harder for me not to space out. I love the idea of the problems in the math journal-will have to steal that this year. :)

    Not Just Child's Play

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    1. Miss Trayers, yep our adult experiences are fairly similar to what our young learners experience. Great point!

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  4. I love how important names are....and to use the version of it they like the best:-) Always a great place to start making connections.

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    1. Laurie, they are the most important words in the world. :)

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  5. Engagement is such an important piece to teaching. I like your reminder that if we haven't found a connection, keep looking and find one. :)
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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    1. Lori, I keep thinking it must be easier to find a connection than to drag them through material that has no interest for them. :)

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  6. Love the idea of working harder to make connections!

    Tara
    The Math Maniac

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    1. Tara, me too. Me too. It's a good thing to keep in mind.

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  7. Love this reminder! It helps me remember how important it is to get to know my kids, and then use that knowledge!
    Sara

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    1. Sara, that's a great way of putting it!

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  8. Seriously, I've said this before but it bears repeating - you amaze me! Can you imagine how wonderful Jake felt as you used his name over and over again - for good? WoW. He's bound to be soaring from his time "where everybody know his name!" Cheers to your creativity!

    Barbara

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    1. Barbara, thank you. I didn't come up with the idea but I've modified t throughout the years. The kids do really enjoy it when their name becomes the teacher in the room. :)

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