Slice of Life Tuesday: Sixth graders and change…any change…

 Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers
Sixth graders are such creatures of habit.  For all their goofiness in the hallways and (sometimes) during class, and for all the chaos that they seem to thrive on (witness what goes on in the lunch room) they do like a certain certitude and sameness about some things…like our classroom.  Anything new: a poster, a new pencil sharpener, a set of dry erase boards, these are instantly noted and then everyone has to have their say. There is a period of adjustment that needs to take place.
Last week, I scrounged up a new book case from some corner of our building, bought three new reading cushions and added a new rocking chair to our reading area – all on the same day.  My kids were in shock.  
They gathered around the book case first, exclaiming about its presence: “Woah, that’s new!”  “Cool, but it makes the room look…. different.” “Huh, a book case. Didn’t we already have book cases?’  “That’s new, right Mrs. Smith?!” It seemed as though some time would be needed for everyone to fully accept this new book case.
Then they moved to the reading area, and, once again, there was much discussion and exclamation.  Also,  there were a lot of questions about why the new cushions,  why they were the color red, and why that particular type of rocking chair.  Needless to say, everyone had to have a go at trying these out, commenting on their degree of comfort, and offering advice about its placement.  Apparently, these items, too, would take some getting used to.
By the time our block class was over, though, all these items seemed have been accepted, even embraced.  Post-its were placed on the rocking chair to claim sitting-rights the next day.  The cushions were stowed away in known-only-to-the-stower nooks and crannies for the same purpose.  Change came to room 202, then things went back to normal.
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13 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Sixth graders and change…any change…

  1. I wonder where that noticing goes? I have a reading/writing nook outside of my classroom. I put a second chair out there just before Christmas. I swear it was several days before some kids even noticed!

  2. I have "old" red reading cushions in my reading room. They are clunky and pretty grimy these days but there is something so wonderful about slunking into a good pillow to read that it all makes it worthwhile. Next summer, however, I will need to find a new sofa begin discarded by the side of the road to replace these aging cushions – something new will take time to adjust – but at least it will be clean!

  3. 6th graders are one of my favorites! But a rocking chair would be a great addition to my reading corner as well. I loved the way you describe your students' responses to the changes. Even my high school students were asking today, "where do I sit?" All this because of a one new student!

  4. Kids are so funny! When students would come back to visit years after leaving first grade, they would check in to see what had changed and exclaim over those things that were still the same.

  5. So funny! Last year my fourth graders would come in and immediately scan the room. Lots of days, some of them even went so far as to check the trash cans to see if I had discarded anything interesting!

  6. Tara,It's amazing to see what attracts attention sometimes…adding these fun things to your room jazzed their interests! How funny that they made reservation requests with the post its!

  7. I love that you work on creating spaces for your kids. I think the more comfy we can make schools the better! This year I am holding 2 of my graduate classes at my home and I can't even tell you how much it changes things. Spaces are often underrated.Brava!Tomasen

  8. Creatures of habit. Sounds like my elementary kiddos too! You think the "older" students just wouldn't notice or care, but that's obviously not the case. I think it tells us that you create such a warm, inviting environment, like home, for your students. So, of course, they will notice the slightest change!

  9. I think I changed things up a bit too much when I was a classroom teacher (in the name of classroom management). If I could go back and do it again, I'd do less desk switches. However, I still believe moving the room around periodically so it flows better and feels more homey is the way to go.

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