A Good Start…

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Thanks to our GRIT team, this was my view as I waited in the turning lane this morning…

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And as students entered the building, the walkway was lined with faculty and staff cheering them on, welcoming them to a new school year.  High fives, smiles and laughter…a great way to start our Monday!

Every staff member had on safety yellow t-shirts with this logo…

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With traits we hope to instill in our students each day…

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As I looked through my rosters during prep, I was a little nervous.  Not many names I knew. 

My first class attended a school – wide session with our administration sharing their expectations for the year.

Our new principal spoke very direct to our students.  No fluff.  He shared how he used to look at our school and wonder what made us so great, thinking he’d love to work here some day.  He shared that settling was not acceptable.  Our students are passionate in their sports, band, vo-tech & SkillsUSA, FFA, jROTC as they compete at the highest levels – but that’s not enough, we must also be passionate about our academics.  We have a challenge to face, we work hard and practice because we want to win and be our best.

I left today feeling a bit defeated, like I had not connected with most of my students.  Though a few moments I saw twinkle in some eyes as they were thinking.  It was one class of students who have not been successful in math in recent years that what we did felt good and right.

After a few minutes with them, I changed my plans just a bit and went with Pascal’s Triangle and a Notice and Wonder (thanks, Max). 

Did they see all I wanted them to see? No.  But today was about letting their voices be heard, sharing their ideas (no matter how big or small), letting them experience ownership of their ideas.

After a silent (a difficult task for some of them) 2 minutes to simply look, they were given 2 minutes to jot down things they noticed.  Next we were up around the room for a quick, pair-share.  One student asked, “if I hear someone else’s idea and I like it better, can I add it to my list?” Sure!

As I began listing each notice, a student was worried someone else might steal their idea.  I asked, “What if I +1 with your initials beside it, so you can share the idea?”  And that’s what we did. 

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Everyone shared something.  I was very intentional to initial their ideas, write their thoughts, without judgement or approval.

We then took 2 minutes to wonder. I called time, and asked them to share.  As I turned to the class after writing the first wonder on the board…I saw nearly every student with hands in the air eager to share.

I smiled and thought…this is how it should be.. it’s going to be a good year.

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5 responses »

  1. I love the +1 with the initials. So simple and easy to acknowledge the students and no one passes because it has all been said. Such a “duh” moment as I read this. I should have thought of it! Definitely stealing and using this year. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You get your students off and running, you are in inspiration. I love that you cheer the students on as they enter the building. I might have to steal this idea to share with my principal.

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