Thursday, February 19, 2015

Accepting Only Their Best

Keeping expectations high is a must in the classroom.  I've honestly found that the higher my expectations are, the better the kids perform. I'm sure you agree.

But every once in a while, the kiddos get a bit lazy and forget that I won't except just any answer EVEN IF it's a right answer. My sweeties know I want them to dig a bit deeper.

Case in point:

During Morning Meeting today, (our 100th Day!) I asked the students to make a word using the letters in ONE HUNDRED.  

Now we do SO much of this each week with my Word Wizard Packets that I thought it would be easy breezy.  (Click on pic to get freebie!)

Well, this morning, I didn't get the responses I expected  Most kids looked at the chart, quickly went back to their desks, scribbled a word on the sticky I had left for them, and slapped it on the paper.  Want to know what almost every child wrote down? 


Now RED is a nice word.  Actually, I'm quite fond of the color. Truly.  My son even has red hair so I assure you that I have nothing against red at all. Promise.  

But I digress...

But how could almost every child go for the easy answer?  The LAZY answer.  Except this one:

Not sure if you can see the's UNDER.  Good word.  Much, much better than red, isn't it?

As I read off the responses,  giggles started to emerge when they realized that almost every answer was RED.  When I rattled off UNDER, I heard a gasp.  Then another. The class immediately knew this was a good word. A much better word.  I didn't have to say a thing.  The students did it for me.  "Mrs. Mullarkey should give you smart beads. (I did!)  "You put a lot of thought into your answer." (He did.)  "You challenged yourself." "I wish I could have gotten that word," said another.  

That's when I spoke up.  "YOU CAN! I want you to sit here for a minute and study the letters.  When you come up with a stronger word, go write it down." 

While they sat and thought, I quickly went around the room and put another sticky on each desk.

Were they lazy the first round?  Yep.
Was I? Yep. A little...

Say what? 

I didn't give them "think time."  

I assumed they'd razzle dazzle me so I let "think time" slide and allowed them to get up immediately. 

Yep, I know that even giving students an extra 3 seconds of think time improves their responses. 

Five seconds is even better.  I knew this and am pretty good about waiting it out but I took a shortcut today and so did they. 

Making them sit for just 60 seconds was rewarded by these words:

(WONDERED: Although not spelled correctly, I love the risk)

(Sight word this week!)

And there were more but my camera died. 

Much better, yes?  

So, here's to a little wait time which always harvests better results. (And a kudos to my kiddos for raising their game!) 

Have a great night!

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