Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Shadow Knows

Earlier this month, I took up the #ShadowaStudent Challenge and followed a third grade student from morning bell to dismissal bell. I have to begin this post by giving a shout out to those who made this possible. First of all the teacher who welcomed me into her room from 8:45 am to 4:00 pm. I'm sure it can't be comfortable having your supervisor 10 feet away from you for an entire day! But she handled it like a champ. My next thank you goes out to my substitute media specialst, Ms. Rita (you may remember her from my previous post). As often happens these days, we were short a classroom substitute and Rita flexed her schedule to cover the classroom for the morning until someone arrived in the afternoon. Next was my EST (counselor/interventionst) who made sure the students with health care issues were taken care of while I was away. Finally was my secretary.  Actually my sub secretary. Her second day subbing and she had to cover the office without my assistance. Let's just say that this would NEVER have happened without a lot of people stepping up to lend a hand throughout the entire building. I can assure you that they made one third grade girl very happy!

I started the day by handing in my keys, badge and phone. I honestly think that was the longest I've been without my phone for months and it was a very freeing feeling (I may have to do that more often). I then took a seat next my student and followed her schedule. Her name was Isabelle and we started the day with morning work. When she finished, she showed me some of her journal writing, her polished rock collection, and pictures she had drawn. She also drew me a Superman logo:) In the first few minutes, we found out that we had several things in common. Most notably that we are both adopted. Isabelle is new to our school this year and I talked about how I felt when I first moved here too. We both love music, art and reading. After the morning work we went to "carpet time" where we sat to listen to "Because of Winn Dixie". It's amazing how listening to a great story never gets old. My only problem was that I did not get up as quickly as I used to from "Criss Cross Applesauce". Next we went to art where we got to use clay for sculpting. My hands were blue for most of the day (even after washing them). The remainder of the morning was spent doing math using white boards and going up to do problems on the interactive board.  Then the recess bell rang.

Like all the students, I gave a moan when I heard the announcement that recess was inside due to intermittent rain. So we spent most of the time doing stacking cups (which I found out that I'm not very good at). After clean up we lined up for lunch. I waited in line and bought a slice of pizza and then joined Isabelle and the other classmates as we sat in the cafeteria and had lunch. It was amazing how many stories I heard in the lunchroom and my head was spinning a bit.  After lunch, we came back to the room for social studies. Not only was this my favorite subject, we got to use iPads in small groups for a Kahoot! It was a blast and we used it to study for an upcoming event. I later found out that all the teachers in the wing pool together the few iPads they have and share among the team to provide more access to students. (Yay team!). Next came science and another indoor recess. (I see why teachers and students hate indoor recess). We ended the day with reading intervention group in the library. I liked this time, because it was small group and everyone got a turn to read and share.

As I reflect on my day as a student, I had several takeaways. First of all, I was exhausted at the end of the day. Maybe because it was a new environment and I was trying to soak everything up that I could. Even though I was exhausted, I noticed on my Fitbit that I only had about half my normal steps from a day. It's a challenge (for both students and teachers) to be in the same room for an entire day (especially when it's indoor recess!). I had a renewed appreciation for what teachers do on a daily basis. Creating innovative lessons for five different subjects in the same day in the same space and managing transitions between them is NOT an easy task. That's not even taking into account all the different personalities that come with a classroom.  Finally, it was nice to actually be in the shoes of a student. We talk a lot about "What's best for kids", but I think it's important for all of us to actually see things from their view point (literally). I know Isabelle appreciated it and I hope it sent a message to all our students that their voice matters as well.  Who knows how things look like from the eyes of a child? The Shadow knows...
Enjoying my day in 3rd Grade! 


"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow." - Helen Keller

"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance." - Carl Sandburg

"Many miles away there's a shadow on the door of a cottage on the shore of a dark Scottish lake." - Sir Walter Scott

Orson Welles' famous introduction to "The Shadow" radio hour (30 seconds)


Monday, March 21:  PBS Committee Meeting in Denise's Room 8:05 am
                                 Jon to Rotary Meeting (Student Leadership Day) 12:00-1:15 pm
                                 REED (Sherry Lynn/Shannon) 3:15 pm
                                 Parent Meeting (Jeannie/Jon) 4:00 pm
Tuesday, March 22: Elementary Principal Group at Wayne-RESA 7:30-9:30 am
                                Parent Meeting (Jenna/Jon/Denise) 4:00 pm
Wednesday, March 23: Jon to Lansing for Michigan Ed Voice Legislative Day
                                      4th Grade to Johnson 9:15-11:15 am
Thursday, March 24: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                                   Tornado Drill 9:20 am (Jim Madaus filming Weather Commercial)
                                    Dress Like a Pirate Event in the Gym (Sign up for times)
Friday, March 25: No School - Spring Break begins!

Monday, April 4: School resumes
Tuesday, April 5: Spring Photos by Lifetouch
                             Red Wings Assembly 3:00 pm
Wednesday, April 6: IEP (Sherry Lynn/Shannon) 2:30 pm
                                  SOTM & MIRM Awards Assembly 3:00 pm
Thursday, April 7: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                               Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 pm
                               PTA Meeting 6:30 pm

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