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First Six Weeks: Week 2
Old 08-05-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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Note: I am posting for happygirl who had to be out of town unexpectedly.

Things that struck me about the week 2 plans:

Waiting until Week 2 to come up with class rules???!!! I've never been trained in RC and haven't followed FSW to the letter. My first week is a full week. With second graders, I am tempted to do the class rule-making (early!) during week one. Your thoughts?

Students definitely need to be taught to share. I love that the authors show this is a priority so early in the year. (On this topic, I like the book Knee to Knee, Eye to Eye by Ardith Davis Cole.) Other books or strategies that you use to teach sharing?


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me too
Old 08-05-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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I have not been trained either, but have been using Morning Meeting and The First Six Weeks for 4 years. I agree, that rules seem to need to come in sooner. We start on a Thursday, but by early the next week we are ready to start thinking about this. I love all the community building that is emphasized and also do hopes and dreams conferences with parents in teh first two weeks of school.
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well...you also have to trust in the process.
Old 08-05-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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Some years it's actually taken 5 or 6 weeks to agree on rules! That doesn't mean we're "without rules", though, in the beginning.
Take safety rules, for example. Those are reviewed, modeled, reviewed, modeled the first couple of days. "We don't argue with safety rules. They're made for our physical safety. They just are."
My "own" rules- no hats, no gum. That's put into place the first day, too!
And then we're practicing all the other things: raising hands, being respectful, taking care of our own messes, including each other in games, trying our best, etc. etc. etc. which end up being written down as "our classroom rules". But I want to really respect the process, and process takes a long time.
Some years I've waited until the third week or so to ask kids what they think some good rules for our classroom should be, in order for everyone to have fun and be able to learn. Then I make a huge list (sometimes it's more than 70 "rules" kids come up with) and we code them (safety? common sense? teacher rule? work rule? have fun rule? respecting classmates rule? etc.). Then they get boiled down in the next couple of days to 3 or 4 good rules we can live with.
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Hopes and Dreams
Old 08-07-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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After reading The First Six Weeks, I too wondered about creating rules the second week. I've always began with students on the second day, at least.

However, isn't the Hopes and Dreams "project" the beginning of rule creation? Isn't this where we get the 3-4 rules that will make our classroom a fair and productive place to be?

I like that students are thinking about what they want to accomplish in the year and then, from this be able to ask questions about what that will look like if they want to get there.

I too begin on a Thursday and then have 4 days the following week. I'm taking those 6 days as my "first" week. Depending on the second graders I get, I would think by the Friday of the "first" week, I will be able to introduce the idea of actual rules. Not having been trained in RC (though would love to be), I guess I have to go with my gut feeling about my class.

I was also thinking that aren't we establishing "rules" through Guided Discovery and Interactive Modelling of procedures in the first week? I would think that we can build off of these procedures to create our class rules.

I don't know. Being that this will be my first year implementing the RC approach, these are just my ideas.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:12 AM
 
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I think the whole the reason we wait till the 2nd week for rule creation, is that you want to set your Hopes and Dreams first. You want the kids to think about what they want to achieve and accomplish. Once they think about H&D they can then think about ways to get there. This is when we introduce rules. Rules grow from everyone's goals for the year. (even the teacher's) The hopes and dreams are the fuel to running your classroom until you get the rules in place.
Then you invite the families into the process of articulating H&D for the year. Family teacher conferences are a great way to do get them involved. After the H&D are established and VALUED by the students you are ready to start the rule creation.
Rules are generated by the students with teacher guidance. Many rules will be expressed negatively, but you teach them how to turn it into a positive. After you get a list of many rules, then create some global rules.
Then have the kids place their rules into these categories. You will have a list of three to five rules that every specific rule they stated will fall into.
Taking the time to value the rules and get everyone's input is so important to the process. It takes a while to agree on a final list of rules, but once you have them you will always refer to them in your teacher language throughout the day, so it is well worth the time and effort.

I watched a video called "Creating Rules with Students" where responsive classroom teacher/consultant, Caltha Crowe does this with her class and she explains the need for the children to come up with the rules and be invested in them. She also emphasizes that you as the teacher need to steer them in the right direction if they are having trouble with agreeing on certain rules.
It's all in the way you present rules as things we need in place to reach our hopes and dreams. There is a process that you go through with creating the rules with the kids.


 
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:01 AM
 
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Thanks, damarnfl & Tatum, for showing the connection of hopes and dreams with rule-making. That makes a lot of sense.

Thanks, whistler, for showing how you make this "no rules" time work.
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Rules vs. Procedures/Expectations
Old 08-08-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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I remember starting the RC approach my first year of teaching and going in completely head over heels and waiting to introduce rule creation in the exact specific order it has in there (hopes and dreams, brainstorming, changing to positive, categorizing, developing general rules). Boy, was I NERVOUS!!

But, it works because you're establishing expectations all that first week...interactively modeling lining up, cleaning up, using glue sticks, etc. If a kid is running in the hall, you have to set your expectation, even if you don't have a rule yet. "Stop. Hallways are for walking. Show me how you walk in the hall." Then, when you have rules, you can refer to them.

Last year I had a tough kiddo who was throwing tantrums and I had to set expectations right away, the first week with her. I had lunch with her the first week to make sure she knew that her behavior wasn't working and we talked about how we could work together on her problem (a problem-solving conference).

So, I think we really need to make sure our expectations are thought-out and clear that first week and also making sure we are cognizant of knowing which things should slide that first week and what things should not, depending on the age, development, and situation.

I think it's so powerful to have children make their rules. Great discussion!
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My areas of growth
Old 08-08-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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I've been using the Responsive Classroom Assessment over the last year to reflect on areas that need growth in my teaching and one area, that overlaps with this second week of school is REFERRING BACK TO RULES CONSTANTLY AND DAILY. I got so caught up in the "don't talk about the problem as it's happening" idea that I hardly ever referred back to the rules and the only one I consistently went to is "if we want to keep everyone safe, how can we...?" But, if we want to take care of everyone, how do we greet each other? If we want to take care of ourselves, how can we make our plan for reading time? If we want to take care of each other, how will we share the magnifying glasses. What does taking care of our room mean when we are finished with Daily 5? You're showing me you know our rule of taking care of our room by putting the caps on the markers.
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Two Thoughts;
Old 08-09-2010, 04:49 AM
 
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Hey All,

Your discussion is so meaningful! I am inspired and only hope I can lead my colleagues in this same type of discussion this year.

I had two ideas for you all to chew on as you continue to read The First Six weeks.

The practices in the RC Approach as supported and grounded in many social science theories. Adler, Driekers and others have given us much to refer to when developing these practices. Therefore, remember that there are carefully researched reasons as to why it is advisable to wait to start your rules creations; why we advocate for Hopes and Dreams first; why we are so committed to making sure each child has a sense of belonging, significance and fun in our classrooms.

Secondly, I'd like you to hear the story of my favorite homemade spaghetti sauce recipe that was handed down to my hubby from his grandmother. The first few (or may 100!) times that he made this recipe, he followed it EXACTLY! Why do you think he did that?

Because it was a tried and true recipe, he knew he would get pretty good results if he stayed true to the formula for awhile. Now, he's made that sauce so many times, he feels comfortable adding or deleting depending on the need for the sauce.

So, I would encourage you to stay as closely as you can to the “recipe” of the Responsive Classroom Approach. Because it is grounded in research and because we know that tried and true recipes get results… and because we want what is best for our students!

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