Thursday, February 23, 2017

In Their Shoes

Last week, I took the Shadow A Student Challenge again and returned to second grade. This year, I took some lessons I learned from last year and was a little more intentional in my approach. I shortened the length of my shadow to half a day (in elementary it's a little more easy to get the feel of the day as all the instruction is self-contained). I also made sure I had coverage for the office and that people knew where I was and why (not sure I did a good job of that last year). I was also more selective in my choice of a student. Last year I randomly picked a volunteer (who happened to be a third grade girl). You can read about my experience here . This year, I again asked for volunteers, but I chose one who brought some unique experiences. The student was new to our school, received ELL and Title I services. I thought he would give me insight on what many students experience in our school.

Prior to the experience I had met with my new student, whose name is Jack. I also called his parents and made sure he received a school t-shirt to wear for the day and to keep as his gift for being shadowed. After lunch recess, I joined Jack in his second grade classroom. I was delighted to find that I had my own desk (with materials) right next to my partner. The students were excited to have me in the class and many offered to help me during the math lesson. Having seen the students interact with new students in the past, I already knew they were helpful to others, but it sure made me feel welcome. During the math lesson, I participated and even got words of encouragement from the teacher when my work was correct:) She really went out of her way to make sure I was treated like a student and the class members loved it!

Later in the afternoon, we went to art class. I loved art as a student and it was still as fun as an adult. We were drawing a gorilla with various background elements. I appreciated that several times throughout the lesson, we all got up and walked about the room to see what others were doing. This allowed us to check our progress and also give us ideas for things we could add to our own picture. I took a little liberty with coloring my gorilla purple, but the art teacher didn't seem to mind my creative expression.

During recess, we spent part of the time getting to know one another in my office. This was my favorite part. I learned that Jack was born in India and can speak both English and Punjabi fluently. He has a little brother and loves to play soccer and other sports. His favorite thing about school is "learning" and also PE class. He seemed to be very happy in his new school (I found out this is his third school) and likes our weekly "Celebrate Monday" assemblies. After we talked for a while, we went outside and joined the other students for recess.

At the end of the day, I got to say goodbye to Jack in the bus line and thanked him for letting me shadow him and learn what it was like to be a second grade student in our building. I also got to thank his teacher for making me feel so welcome as her new student.  A year ago, I participated in the Shadow a Student challenge, because I saw others doing it and to be honest I just jumped on the bandwagon to try something new. This year, I feel it was more intentional and planned and more "natural". I guess it's like anything we do, we get better at it as we do things again after reflecting on them. It was truly a chance to understand my students by being "in their shoes." Educators are often asked, "Would you want to be a student in your own classroom?". Taking that question to the building level, "Would I want to be a student in my own school?" My answer is a resounding "YES!".
Jack and his "Shadow"! 


"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

"Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." - Albert Einstein

 Hero Teacher Sonya Romero (5 minutes) 



Monday, February 27: Student of the Month & March is Reading Month kick off assembly 9:05 am
                                    Parent Meeting Casucci 3:15 pm
Tuesday, February 28: PBIS Committee 8:05 am
                                   REED Fuller 2:30 pm
                                   District School Improvement Team 5:30-8:00 pm
Wednesday, March 1: IEP Merchant 8:20 am
                                   Students dismissed at 12:10 pm
                                   Building Based PD in Library 1:00-4:00 pm (Standards Based Reporting)
Thursday, March 2: Staff Meeting 8:05 am (iReady Presentation in the Computer Lab)
                               PTA Meeting 6:30 pm
Friday, March 3: Jon to MEMSPA board meeting in Lansing (Sandi Benson covering office)

Monday, March 6: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
                              Jon to Buchanan for meeting 1:30 pm
Tuesday, March 7: REED Boggs 8:20 am
                             Sky Dome in the Gym following Google Schedule
Wednesday, March 8: IEP Boggs 8:20 am
                                   Pizza Kit Delivery at 1:30 pm
                                   REED Benson 3:15 pm
                                   Kindergarten Parent Information Night 6:00-7:00 pm
Thursday, March 9: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                               Jon meeting with Discovery Rep 10:45 am
                               Elementary Principals Meeting 12:30-4:30 pm
Friday, March 10: Students dismissed at 12:10 pm
                             Teacher work day in the afternoon (end of 2nd Trimester)

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