Whew! I was overwhelmed today! Can you believe Christmas is in no time?!? I am so far behind!!! It is one of those years where I spend more time working on classroom community than just about anything else. I keep hoping things are going to click, but so far it is a no-go.
I have been reading quite a few posts about the new CORE curriculum. I am co-grade level chair and writing the new math and ELA curricula for our grade level based on the CORE. We also have a new program for math. We thought is would be helpful, but it is also very overwhelming when paired with new math and ELA content. I am trying very hard to take one thing at a time, but gravy, whose idea was is to address both CORES all at once?!?
Don’t get me wrong, I am really liking them! It is just that change is really hard. We do not have and programs or textbooks, so every year feels a bit like reinventing the wheel. Things are so wide open that is is easy to get carried away. I sat a my table thinking that I needed to really work on planning for math and that led to thinking about how I need to get started with spelling and do more with word study. Then I thought about the new grammar pieces, and gee, do I really know what I want to do with shared reading before break? I must not forget that I need to wrap up a family unit in SS and animal classifications in science – and then there are the simple machines kits that need to go back in 3 weeks – yeah, haven’t even started yet.
I know – breath, breath, breath. I’ve been here before.
One of the lessons that I decided to do to address our classroom community is Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies. Oddly enough, I remember this lesson from when I was in second grade and my teacher taught us about them. The intent is to support students in treating each other kindly. This is tough for my students this year. Forming friendships is a challenge and I want to work on kindness in the classroom. I plan to introduce the concept of Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies by brainstorming the things we can do and say that are kind and hurtful. Then we are going to make Warm Fuzzies to remind students about kindness. Finally, I am hoping to carve out time for students to share when others are warm fuzzies and make a paper chain. If you are interested in the materials, click below to access the materials.
How do you encourage a positive community in your classroom?