One of the most important things I teach in my classroom happens at morning meeting (YES,there is STILL time for morning meeting!) I have a student of the week and he or she fills out a poster at home about themselves. When the poster comes to school the child stands at the easel and shares about the poster….This seems like a simple task, but in reality, it’s one of the hardest things for kiddos to learn. Consider this regarding the Star Student:
- The child has to remember what he or she wrote/ drew on the poster.
- The child has to stand in front of his other peers and share.
- The child has to speak in a voice that is clear and understandable.
Now consider what the audience (i.e. the rest of the 5 and 6 year olds have to do)
- Listen to the speaker.
- Think about what the speaker is saying.
- Ask questions about what the speaker shared.
At the end of the sharing session my star students says “Thanks for listening”, and then the rest of the groups says “Thanks for sharing”….The star student concludes with: “Are there any questions or comments?”
This is where it gets intense people. ALL 21 hands shoot into the air ….the Star Student calls on a friend (by FIRST name…another VERY tough skill)For all of October and November most kinders just simply want to share something about their own family and experiences….most of them aren’t able to formulate a question or a RELEVANT question about what the star student has ACTUALLY shared about. Kids are antsy, unaware of what the speaker has been saying and can’t stop thinking about what they would be saying if it were THEM in front!
The WORK and PRACTICE that we do in regards to asking questions, listening and showing respect as listeners is TIRING and very difficult, even for the brightest of kinders. The pictures below show our 18th Star Student. I was able to stand back, listen, take pictures and feel pride in the AMAZING ability for these 21 children to genuinely listen, share, ask and answer questions and learn about another peer!
I teach kiddos their ABCs, I teacher kiddos how to button, zip, write, read…think..add….but more importantly, these kinders are learning how to be engaged, intentional, and respectful listeners and friends! This is amazing work…it’s hard work…and I know that these skills will follow them and help them be good listeners, thoughtful friends, and intentional listeners! How cool is that?