Thursday, August 13, 2020

Teacher Tom: A "Boy Team" and a "Girl Team"

Teacher Tom: A "Boy Team" and a "Girl Team"

A "Boy Team" and a "Girl Team"

Charlotte was one of those kids who had been coming to Woodland Park since before she was born, arriving first in our classroom in utero to drop off and pick up her older brother, then continuing on her own behalf until she was five. If I've ever known a student, it would be Charlotte, and among the many things I know is that she is not conflict averse: she will stand up for herself, and for righteousness in general, like few people I've ever known, whatever their age.

To say she knew her way around the place would be an understatement. When we began making our classroom agreements early in her final school year, she took the lead in creating a short, but very workable list, including the vital ones of "No hitting," "No kicking," "No biting," and "No taking things from other people." We would, of course, add to this list in the coming days and weeks, but could in theory function as a community quite well with these dozen or so rules we had created to get started.

The following day, we played with our catapults. The kids fell on them enthusiastically. It was wild at first, although I was proud of how well the kids -- most of whom were just getting to know one another -- figured out how to share the five machines without any input from me. 

Naturally, they quickly began targeting one another with the ping pong balls. I was trying to stay out of the way, observing, and helping to retrieve balls that had gotten under furniture, waiting all the while for a signal from the kids that CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: A "Boy Team" and a "Girl Team"