Saturday, September 26, 2009

SuperSpeed teaches ... kindness

I set aside a little time at the end of class to play the SuperSpeed 1000 fluency game from Power/Whole Brain Teaching. My students work in pairs daily and know to turn to a neighbor.

Of course, someone is always absent, and I need to make adjustments. On this day, I scanned the empty seats, then asked Sammy and Johnny to work together. Sammy rebeled, shouting loudly, "Who? Johnny?! No way! I hate that kid; I'm not working with him!" By now I am down to my last five minutes of class. If the rest were to play, we needed to keep moving. No time for even a quick conference asking on what level this behavior was, etc.

Soooo -- I told Sammy he could go next door while we played. I swapped Johnny to another student, and I played with the odd man out.

Sammy sputtered. "No! Wait! Let me play with Tommy! No? Okay, okay; I'll play with Johnny. I want to play!"

It was beautiful.

Now, Sammy is one of the most charismatic kids on team. He is a bonafide leader. When he speaks, kids listen. Except for today. Everyone moved ahead and had a blast with the game, while he protested and fussed.

I met with Sammy later that day, one-on-one, after he'd cooled off. His temper flared when he remembered; "I really wanted to play!" I explained that my feelings are hurt easily, and if he had refused to play with me, I'd have gone home crying. I won't let kids say mean things to or about him, and I won't let him say mean things to or about anyone else. Now, no one would ever take on this kid. He is the definition of popularity. Would he be able to understand how his words hurt Johnny? I am happy to report ... yes, he could. He literally hung his head. We spoke a bit more. I agreed to try to avoid pairing him with Johnny, if he would agree not to complain about any partner in the future. We have a deal.

In the past, I might have issued a detention, then maybe a referral for his arguing and refusing to leave. This would never have helped him reflect on, own, and potentially change his behavior.

Thank you Chris Biffle for the game. Thank you Fay & Funk for logical consequences. Thank you Marvin Marshall for Raising Responsibility.

Next week -- I really, really, really intend to discuss KINDNESS in class meetings!

No comments:

Post a Comment