Ah, spring break at last. I love the Friday before spring break if for no other reason than because my class size diminishes drastically. I normally have 28 students. But often the families of these 28 students take advantage of leaving a day (or two or three) early and coming back a day late from spring break. Today we started with 21 and then lost two more as the day went on finishing with an all time low of 19. By the end of the day I was a bit panicked; my room seemed too empty.
The biggest difference I saw today was with my ELL students. Both of them worked harder today than I have seen in months. They are also often at each other, irritating and bothering each other. And today they were getting along and actually helping each other out. I wonder how much the quiet and the lack of chaos helps them to settle in. I know that A is able to stay focused because he knows he can’t get lost in the crowd with only 19 kids. He settled in and did exactly what I asked him to do for a full 40 minutes. He has NEVER done that.
I laughed more with my kids today. I talked to more of them today. I made eye contact more times today and had one on one conversations with all of them today. We only lost 10 Blurt Beans today – a record for the 20 days we have been doing it. The kids helped me get the room ready for the long break and it looked better than it has in months without me having to direct the cleaning. They seemed to know what to do without my direction.
We have a storyteller come to our class every other week. Today she told a story about a storyteller who would only keep telling stories if he received gifts from his listeners. One of the kids piped up, “Do we need to give you gifts?”
“Your listening is gift enough,” she responded. She has seen us struggle with this group and with their attention level. She has actually walked out on telling stories because the kids could not sit still and listen properly. She, too, was amazed with how good the kids were today. Their listening and good behavior today was more than a gift enough for me as well.
So, is it really just because of numbers? Can I attribute a really good day to having 10 fewer students in my room? That makes me sad as I anticipate the cuts that we will see in our building for next fall. I will likely have 31 students in my class next year. Big heavy sigh.