After two weeks off of school, I really wan't sure what I was going to do with my students today. I was sure I needed to do something very structured and probably review classroom expectations. But honestly, I was too busy and having way too much fun over break to plan something so structured. As I was driving back from the Capital One Bowl in the wee hours of the night last night, I was thinking about what my resolution for the new year was going to be. I had a million thoughts run through my head, and I actually made several resolutions.
Anyhow, back to the kids. Thinking about my resolutions got me wondering if my students had made any. Then I wondered if they even knew what a New Year's resolution was. I love that moment when I suddenly know exactly what I'm going to do with my classes and that it's going to be awesome. So it was decided, we were going to have a good ol' fashion conversation. Fancy, right?
The students' bellwork was to write their New Year's resolution on a sticky note and write their name on the back. That is the only instruction they got. I could just see the questions stirring in their heads. After their five minute silent "think time" was over, their hands flew up. Only about half of the students knew what the heck I was talking about. With each class I had one student explain what a resolution is and then gave the students a few more minutes to think about their answers.
Most of the resolutions were about doing better in school, having better behavior, and being more respectful. They were good, don't get me wrong. But they seemed to be saying what I wanted them to say, not what they really wanted to do. I decided to interrogate them. Just kidding. I actually do need to work on probing questions and found this to be the perfect opportunity. I pushed and pushed until I had some students really digging deep about what they want their lives to be like and who they want to be as people. It was awesome. I had some of my worst behaved students debating with themselves about why they behave the way they do. Did I mention it was awesome?
After we talked about resolutions, we discussed educational goals. One of my worst behaved classes had the BEST sense of community today! The students were helping each other establish goals for the rest of the year. But the best part; some of my students were planning ways in which they were going to HOLD EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE. Yep, I said it.
Even though we only did a little math review after our conversations, the students and I both learned more today than we ever would in a whole chapter of math. It was a good, good day in the middle school math classroom :)