Observers and winter slump

I had an observer yesterday, a wonderful young student teacher whose energy added to the room. He came in during one class and left partway through the second. We didn’t have a chance to talk, and now I realize that I’m going to need to add a requirement when people come: you have to debrief with me afterward!

I’d never had that happen before. It’s always been the case that the observers stayed either for lunch or after school, and I got to hear their impressions and answer questions. It makes the observation “worth it” for me.

This way, I don’t know what he saw. I do know that my kids are slumping into a weird, energy-less state. It’s very dark (though the days have been bright while we’re inside), with sunrise happening just about an hour before lunch, and darkness falling not long after the school day ends. And it has been below zero for days. I’m hoping for snow as promised this week. Somehow that brings excitement into the air.

Is anyone else having tired kids?

I’m feeling forced to do “activities,” with the kids. I am kind of marching through a series of manipulations of whatever we are doing: ask the story, tell it, picture it, read it, watch it, talk about it, act it, move it, and so on. I’m having to think, “Large group, pairs, small group, individual, listen, read, listen, draw, listen, talk, read, write…” On other blogs, I see everyone having great fun, but we’re not flowing the way we usually do in a way that comes organically through the class needs. Maybe I need to look back to last December and see what we were doing!

OH. I just realized that there’s one other piece to this puzzle. We have to put our specific steps on the board now. I used to put our structures for the day up and a brief outline of what we could do. Maybe it’s that I’m not diverging from my own steps as needed by the kids. Today I’m going to try starting wtih the structures and putting a list of things that we could do. We don’t have to do them all. Two classes will be getting into another MovieTalk routine, so maybe that will help us all.

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3 responses to “Observers and winter slump

  1. Yep, my kids are having the same problem (and so am I!) It doesn’t get dark quite that early, or light that late in Alberta, but it’s definitely dark in the morning and dark when I leave school! It’s going to be a long two weeks…

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  2. Dennis Gallagher

    When you think of the number of variables that can affect the success of a single class day, it is amazing. Each student brings his/her own day with them, and that is going to affect the outcome of your class. I know I am stating the obvious here, but it’s good to remember this when you feel the class wasn’t at its best. Things feel pretty “slumpy” here in Maine too. Two more weeks. On the exciting side: I have been getting my feet wet with MovieTalk. So much potential there.

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  3. Kristin and Dennis, I’m sorry but relieved to hear that it’s hitting all over. We had a nice day yesterday, singing holiday songs with all the language classes every period in front of our library. Then we went to our Performing Arts Center and sang there with kids and teachers and parents from all over the city for an hour. Now I think I can get a plan in order for my students so that we can finish off the year in style. At least I’ll feel a little bit inspired!

    And WOW. I’m so excited that there are a number of us out there doing Movie Talk. I wonder whether I should talk to the NTPRS people about asking Ashley Hastings to present there. I know they’re pretty solid on the schedule, but still…it seems like a natural thing to do.

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