Today we had a meaningful conversation about the value of feedback. We watched a video called Austin's Butterfly which taught us how to give helpful, specific feedback to others and how to use feedback to improve the quality of our work. We then went around the classroom and gave each other feedback on a recent assignment where students made posters about the Winter Olympics. After receiving critiques from our peers, we shared what we learned and talked about how to effectively give and receive criticism. We all agreed that the feedback we received today was doable and would help make our work look more aesthetically pleasing. We will find out how much we learned from this exercise as we put together our science projects over the next few weeks.
This year's Read to Us Week brought in a variety of professionals for the kids to learn from. On Monday, we had baker Leslie, who explained everything that goes into making incredible cakes and owning your own business. On Wednesday, beekeeper David and his dad Mike came in to teach us about the inner workings of a bee hive. Thursday got us ready for the Olympics as curler Bruce and his team came in to explain the sport of curling. Today we had 911 operator Kris come in to explain how to help people through emergencies. Next week, we get a bonus professional as animator/artist Romero joins us to explain how our favorite animated movies are put together. As always, Read to Us Week was fascinating and worth our time. We certainly learned a lot.
Wednesday, February 7 was Global School Play Day, a day in which kids around the world were encouraged to enjoy unstructured play time with their peers. Several classes at Willamette participated in this event and every teacher I talked to excitedly said that it was a success. This was also true in our classroom. As I observed students I noticed several positive things. First of all, the level of engagement was sky high. Every student was actively engaged for the entire day. Their brains were moving from start to finish. I also noticed interaction between classmates who I wouldn't normally see playing together. It was nice to see so many students being kinder than necessary, warm, and inviting. Another thing I noticed was self-management. To be honest, I was anticipating a day in which I would be spending a good amount of time managing student behavior. I didn't have to deal with student misbehavior the entire day because there was none! Lastly, the mood in the room was light, energetic, and happy. Having a day like this was a great morale boost and a nice break from the heavy lifting we normally do in here. It's a good reminder that sometimes we simply need to unplug and just play. I am hoping that we can do something like this again later this year because it was such a positive experience.