Sunday’s Reflection: “Still Trusting The Process”
As I reflected, I thought about how I’m Still Trusting The Process.
It was the classroom theme and title of the second stage of the school year, which focuses on improvement.
Day by day, my kids proved that they were ready to Trust The Process.
For Reading, I went over Inferencing. A very tough concept to grasp. No matter the grade-level. So, to scaffold the concept, I modeled how to make an inference and support it with evidence. After that, I let them work with a partner. Most of the kids made a correct inference with evidence. A few struggled with it, so I conferenced with them and steered them in the right direction.
Closing out the lesson, I read a story to them. Then asked them to tell me where the kids were taking the kid in the story. In unison, they all said: “Vacation!!!”
They were able to support with evidence, too.
Tuesday, I let my kids do their goal setting for Reading Growth. Before they set their goals, I told them where they are supposed to be at the end of the year and what they’re projected to do. Then I told them to set their own goal.
After giving them some time to write, I allowed them to share how they were going to attain their goal. At first, they were a bit generic, but then I asked them to be more specific about what they were going to do.
Then students got more specific. I’m going to do the work mom has for me. I’m going to “read at home.” I’m going to “take my time on test.”
I was encouraged. I wanted them to go beyond the I’m going to listen to the teacher responses.
During reading, I was teaching Cause and Effect. An important aspect of Inferencing. I engaged in a bit of Content Differentiation with a video-aloud: “For the Birds.”
In the video, a larger bird sits on the middle of the line, which eventually causes the smaller bird to lose their feathers. The kids did extremely well with different cause and effect elements, but one child impressed me.
At one point in the clip when the larger bird sits on the middle of line, the baby birds all have varying reactions. So, I asked the students how the birds felt. A student raised his hand and walked up the board. Then I let him explain the different reaction.
Him: “I can tell that bird is sleepy because his eyes are closed. That bird is mad.”
Me: “How do you know he’s mad?”
Him: “He has those semi-circles around his eyes.” (Yes, he knows what semi-circles are.)
Him: “That bird is surprised.”
Me: “How do you know?”
Him: “His eyes are wide-open.”
Following the introduction, I modeled how to look for cause and effect. Then I let the kids work with a partner of their choosing. I worried a bit, but I knew it was an important step. To my surprise(my eyes weren’t wide-open, though), they were productive and didn’t fuss.
Flexible partners and groupings are a key component of my classroom. I’m glad my kids are showing they can handle it sooner rather than later.
Wednesday, I let the kids be detectives and solve a crime. They’d had to use context clues, character traits, cause and effect and inferencing. They worked in groups. And to my surprise, they worked well together again and quietly, too. Their only issue was trying to solve the crime too soon without going through all the clues. I can’t blame them. Adults are the same way. More concerned about being right, instead of looking at the evidence about a situation or a person.
Later, I was teaching the kids about Thurgood Marshall and something awesome happened. One of my students read the first paragraph. I discussed it with the kids…extending the learning. Then, as I was about to read the second paragraph, the student said: “I’m not done.”
She re-read the paragraph with more fluency. I told her that I love the mindset. (My kids are starting to get that there’s a standard of excellence.)
Thursday was a bit of wash–due to the inclement weather. (Half of my classroom went home because of flooding)
There was a glow, though. My kids took their time on the MAP Growth(Math) test. They rushed the previous week on the Reading. They’re getting that you don’t take the test…You Take The Test!
Friday, something tremendous happened. During circle-time, The Phenomenal Room cup got my baby who is still learning the language.
Normally, I say: “Como estas.”
And she’ll respond: “Bien.”
But instead of that type of interaction, she said: “ I feel good and Phenomenal.”
Me(With a smile on my face): “What you say?!!!”
Phenomenal transcends language.
Shortly after that, I had the kids write how they would Trust The Process. Before having them write, I told them what I told my kids my first year. They should Trust The Process. Also, I shared how I told my first group of kids that if they get it together, people in middle school won’t even know they struggled in elementary school. (I turned out to be prophetic.)
Then I told them about one of my students who I received in the middle of 4th grade and had in 5th grade, as well. When he first entered “The Greatness Room”, all he talked about was how he was in the “bad-kid class” at his old school and got wrote up all the time.
I told him to “let that go.” You’re in the Greatness Room now.
Eventually, he did. By the end of the year, he made All A honor roll.
The next year, he was getting interviewed about his transformation. Then a critical moment happened at the end of the year. He got into an argument with another student, and they were about to fight. We pulled them apart. The anger was boiling, and he wanted to reengage with the student.
Seeing this, I had a quick word with them: “Is this kid really worth messing up the start of middle school?”
He calmed down and walked to the classroom. He wasn’t that same angry kid who got put out of a school.
After sharing that story, I asked them to write about how they could trust the process.
One of the responses was cute.
How can I trust the process?
I would be good in school and be helpful and be Phenomenal and read and be learning and be brave and be good to my mom and dad every time in the year.
About 15 minutes later, the same student, who imposed her will the previous week, came up to me excited that her classmate, the one learning the language, read a few chapters a book on her own. (For independent, I had her reading to the student all week.)
I was excited that she was excited for her.
That wouldn’t been a cool way to end the Reflection, but more cool stuff happened that day.
For Reading, I did another video-aloud: “True Move.” It’s a Thailand commercial, which is excellent for reinforcing and teaching Inferencing.
In the commercial, a store owner purchases medicine for a young child after he stole it from another store owner. 30 years later, the young boy pays the store owners hospital bill and operates on him…saving his life.
Throughout the video, there are series of questions that are asked. One of them is why the little boy has his head down at the beginning. Amazingly, my kids inferred correctly that he had his head down because he did something wrong.
Later in the commercial, the store owner gives a homeless man a bag. It’s asks: What was in the bag? The kids correctly guessed food. Then I pushed them to give me more. A child responded that it’s food because that’s what he gave the boy earlier in the story…boom!!!
After the old man collapses from a heart attack(30 years later), he’s shown in the hospital. And then a man is shown in a coat. Immediately, the kids guessed that the man in the coat was a doctor…too easy. Then a student said that the man in the coat was the boy…wow.
Following that lesson, I was lit. These kids are in second grade making high-level inferences.
In the evening, I worked with the kids a bit more on Comparing and Ordering Numbers and Changes In Heat.
To end the day, I told my kids that they had a solid week, but they’re not there yet. They must tighten up on transitions. They must be more on-task. There’s a higher level of expectation in the classroom.
Next week, they’ll start their Improvement(Homework) plans. (It’s really time to get to work.)
As they were leaving, I said we’d switch it up a bit. Instead of chanting We’re phenomenal. We’d chant Trust The Process.
So, I said: “Trust The…”
They responded: “Process!!!”(We did it three times.)
Saturday, I created those plans and sent it to their parents.
I was teaching my kids to Trust The Process, but I learned that I must Trust The Process.
Coming into the year, I still couldn’t believe that I was on second grade. I was offended. I’m a high-performing, upper-elementary teacher who has no business in primary. What’s the point?
Early on, I’m starting to see what I never would have seen. I would have never understood the foundational gaps. I would have never understood the behavioral gaps. I would never have understood my true value.
Parents are already telling me that their child’s “mindset” has changed. A baby who doesn’t really know the language knows what it means to be Phenomenal. And according to one mother, her son “adores” me. (That was after two weeks.)
There was even a funny moment with that student and one of my former students, who rides the same bus.
She shared that she wished she was still in my class. (I get that a lot.)
Then she called the student’s name and said: “You’re in Mr.Short class.”
He didn’t say anything but “smiled.” (Lil dude thinks he’s won the teacher lottery.)
Thinking about this week, I reflect on what that veteran teacher told me this summer in reference to working second grade.
She said: “If you’re on second grade, that’s where you’re supposed to be.”
She was right.
I’m Still Trusting The Process.
I leave you with two things.
1. What process are you going through?
2. Do you trust it?
1. What did you like about the Reflection?
2. What would you like to know more about?
Application: Write how you could Trust The Process. (Share in the comments if you’re comfortable)
Jeremiah Short, Educator