Two Victories in Two Days!

1. EEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEeeeeeee!!!!!!!
I did a circle in class yesterday and it totally worked!!! I’m too excited to even try to be clever with this post, so please bear with me, dear reader! *beams*

For those of you that don’t know, I use a Restorative Practice strategy in my classroom that involves circle work in order to promote a sense of community, encouragement and belonging. But just what is a circle, you ask? It is the  single most amazing classroom strategy since hand-raising, is what. Harry Wong’s got nothin’ on this shhhh…. short yet effective activity for getting every single kid in the classroom involved. Every. Single. One.

You begin by having students move into a circle and then explain that cultures around the world use circles as a safe way to listen, practice and learn new things in a safe space with other people. Then you ask a goofy question– kids learn to speak and share information about themselves with the class in a fun way, such as “What’s your favorite candy bar?,” “Would you choose to go backward or forward through time?,” or even as simple as, “What did you do this weekend?” Students can choose to pass, but we always return to them for their answer.

Next, you introduce a content questions, such as “How many brothers or sisters do you have?” Kids respond with “I have one sister,” or “I have two brothers,” (ect.,ect.) and practice the material they’ve been learning in front of an patient and willing audience (we are working with “I have” and family vocabulary). In a core classroom, you might ask something like “What were the causes of…,” “What do you predict…,” and so on. It gives kids ownership over the content, their learning and the classroom. I do a circle a week with my kids back home and woe befall me if I forget to schedule one by Thursday– they panic that we’re going to skip and pester non-stop for a circle. It’s great! I’ve also used it to address bullying in my classroom and have structured Student Council around this concept, too.

AND IT TOTALLY WORKED IN MY CLASSROOM HERE!!! Kids I had never heard speak to me were sharing aloud and participating in the activities! YEEEEEESSSSS!!!!!

Thank you for teaching me this, MOM!

2. I have also begun dance classes! I know! I’m just as shocked as you are, believe you me. Friday I learned how to Meringue and the basic steps of the Bachata (the two national dances of the Dominican Republic). More updates to follow, but I had an absolute blast at my first lesson!

For more information on Restorative Practices, check out this link (specifically, please scroll down to the section about circles!):