Slice of Life Tuesday: It’s time to do…and be watchful

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers

We are in that interesting, end of the school year place in our classroom life: on the one hand we are ready to:
Image result for getting it doneWith six weeks to go,  I’ve turned over our writing workshop entirely to my kiddos.  They have just begun their multi genre unit , which they will navigate mostly on their own, with some guidance from me if and when needed.  In history, I story tell as they  work to incorporate what we’ve learned into various interactive projects (games, skits, narrative stories, learning tools).  And in reading, we read alone and together, talking when we can, writing our thoughts out when we feel like, and sharing the joy of one last read aloud.  My kids have learned to do and get things done; in that way, my work with them is largely done.  Now, it’s their chance to show what they know, what they can do…what their sixth grade year of learning has yielded.

On the other hand, when it comes to other aspects of our sixth grade life, it is also the time to be extra vigilant, for my kids to know:

Image result for i'm watching you

They are too-comfortable with their sixth grade lives – all the nervousness of entering middle school is long past, and they are edging into seventh grade wise aleck-dom.  Their old (and very sweet) enthusiasm has given way to a practiced appearance of boredom, a sense of  entitlement and a disregard for authority.  They are entering a dangerous part of adolescence, pushing away and pushing back just when they are most confused and need our guidance.  It’s an easy time to step back, throw up one’s hands, and complain. It’s an easy time, often,  NOT to like them.  And sometimes it’s easy just to look away from what they do, to pretend to not hear what they say and not see what they do…it’s the end of the school year, and we are all tired.  BUT, this is when I find I need to be extra watchful, to let them know that my eyes are trained on them and that I am hoping to see the fruits of all the work we have done together to practice every kindness, to build a compassionate and responsible community.  I want them to know that I still have expectations, and that I will hold them accountable.

So there you have it, the story of my last weeks of school: stepping back in one way, and stepping up in another.

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17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: It’s time to do…and be watchful

  1. You give them freedom to be, but yet they know there is a cost when choices cross the line. I love the way you describe this period. It is so perfect and you are so wise.

  2. Tara,
    It’s a great dance. Several steps forward, one slide back, some steps forward and some steps back. Keeping an eye on ALL for evidence of applying their learning – smart work for you for the rest of the year!!!

  3. You have really captured what this part of the school year is like. Even in 4th grade, this is true. They are confident in so many things, but also cocky and little checked-out. We have only 2 1/2 weeks left, so we are farther down that road.

  4. You clearly showed both sides of the same coin — holding tight and letting go. Such a delicate balance we teachers have to maneuver at this time of the year. Sounds like you’ve prepared your students well, Tara!

  5. Freedom comes with responsibility. The students might not be ready for the last. Good to have an adult to remind them about the right choices. May the last weeks be productive and positive!

  6. Stepping back & stepping up – perfect combo for these last weeks. It can be challenging, but your gentle guidance & vigilance pay off in huge dividends.

  7. So smart Tara. Our high school principal told us, “High school is not the time to stop parenting.” So true!! The parenting is different but it is still all-encompassing. Wishing you energy and laughter these last weeks!!
    Clare

  8. Well said, and so right. I often called this age the ‘wanna be’s’, can act so responsible and grown up, want to be older, but it doesn’t always last. I’m sure they’ll take what you’ve given them and fly beautifully into the next phase.

  9. I love htis time of year…when the independence we have cultivated can finally be put to good use. Even my grade 2s are as you described: able to do many things on their own without me hovering, but still needing me to hover to make sure they do things on their own. 🙂

  10. I love your multi genre unit. I know your students are ready to strut their independence and that is the perfect way for them to do so, academically. And while they are demonstrating that independence, yes I understand why you still need to watch! Enjoy these last few weeks!

  11. i love your lines…stepping back and stepping up. That is what the end of the year is all about. I stretch my students to read where they have not yet gone because…well just maybe the can….and I make them write….for purposes and to find that burning desire within….that’s what it is all about~

  12. I appreciated the contrast and recalled just yesterday talking with a client about 7th grade.What is up with that grade?

    I like the list of things that get done by children. I was reminded that y husband often ended 8th grade with a multi-genre piece/project or an I-Search paper/project. Each helps students to frame a topic/subject in interesting and multiple ways.

    Enjoy the rush to the end:)

  13. The other day I said to my students you are independent readers and writers you know what you need to do, it’s up to you to do it. And to some extent, this was true. But, they know I’m there, as you say, watching with expectations. And they know it when they fall short! Great post!

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