I decided my 2016 OLW (one little word) would be TRANSPARENCY and I wrote about it HERE.
As I revisit it today, I am feeling it is serving me well. However, differently than I expected.
I wrote back in January: While responsiveness [my 2015 OLW] feels more of a reflection after the fact, transparency feels like a pro-active stance. If I am clear and open and tolerant from the very beginning, my interactions with my students, my colleagues, my family, strangers, anyone, I hope will improve. As I wrote this, I anticipated spending time explicitly being CLEAR. I added open and tolerant but CLEAR was what I was most focused on. Looking back now, I realize that instead, I am most proud of how I’ve been OPEN and TOLERANT with my students.
As my 3rd year back in the classroom, I have fully embraced aspects of RESPONSIVE CLASSROOM. A MORNING MESSAGE is on the board each day to greet my students and they know to read it as they arrive and often to add an answer to a question I pose or to sign-up as a volunteer to share. Then we routinely gather after the school’s morning announcements for Morning Meeting. I have the luxury this year of having 75 minutes for both Morning Meeting and Math and then an additional 35 minutes after our early lunch to finish any math we need to finish. Because of the flexibility with time, I’m more relaxed and open and tolerant of our Morning Meeting taking a few extra minutes which it regularly does. I am relaxed and laugh at the silly ways we greet each other and the silly games we play. We start our day with play and I start it by being open and tolerant of all in the room. And they SEE, due to my TRANSPARENCY, that this is a fun, safe classroom. And I realize now that because we have a great start to our day, we have a great day, all day long!
I also wondered back in January: Can I help parents to “see” what their child is learning when so much of it seems invisible? I notice due to each student in my classroom having an iPad, that I use less and less worksheet paper and instead, post more assignments to google classroom. I know we do LOTS in a week but the Friday Green Folders used to communicating with parents may not SHOW much paper work. With a month now to go in this school, I am proud of my routine for communicating with my parents. I have their child on Fridays write them a letter sharing the top things they learned during the week and have them add Ask me about _____ in order to start a home dialogue. I also send an email on Friday to all my parents stating my own highlights from the week and reminders of ways to help at home. With just 4 weeks to go in this school year, I am proud of my TRANSPARENCY with my school families. Sure, it takes time to write that email. Sure, it takes time on Fridays to stuff Green Folders and add a student-written letter. But it also lets parents SEE all the great stuff we are doing, especially in this digital age when so much of what we do seems more invisible.
Finally, I also wrote: I will work to keep my new house clean! I’ll admit that I am doing just OK with this. I love my new house and as Spring is about to become Summer, I love having the windows open and spending time finally getting the neglected yard in some kind of order. I will admit that I am not on a regular weekly cleaning schedule but I do clean. I tend to clean best in anticipation of guest coming over. Maybe YOU should plan to come visit me?! I fully admit, I currently do need a motivation to clean my house.
And that’s me being TRANSPARENT!