Remembering to Slow Down

#sol22- Nov. 15, 2022

After a glorious week off last week, it is the last chunk of time before our long December break. We have five weeks and I am trying to slow myself down. This week started with a bang- meetings every day after school (and several recess meetings too) including Friday. A two-hour professional development. last night until 9. It’s all good and worthwhile stuff, but still, “Slow down,” I whisper to myself.

We finish our reading, writing, and unit of inquiry on Friday- before then the students have to finish research and create a podcast. The temptation was to really push them today, but just before lunch I could feel the energy in the room shift.

“Hold on, all. We are going to pause your work for now. I have just shared an Epic collection with you and I want you to browse the books to choose your next book club book.”

We are starting a fantasy reading unit next week- it will only be four weeks long (including the week before break which is our school’s book week and sports day, so bound to cut into our time. Including our two day grade trip to Kep for team building and more. Having them look over the collection and book shop was a needed energy boost- they were flicking through the books, having a listen to the audiobook options, and scheming with friends to list the same choices. It was a good way

After lunch, I used Flippity to randomly pair the students. They took turns sharing their opinion (that they will podcast) and their three to five reasons that support their opinion. They shared how their opinion has or has not shifted after researching. Then their partner had to let the speaker know what they had heard, to ensure that they were expressing themselves clearly. Then they switched roles.

“What did you learn from doing this?” I asked the class afterward.

They shared so much learning and appreciated their partner’s excellent listening. It was worth the time spent.

“Okay, now open your Chromebook and start a new doc. Name it bibliography and your topic. Now here’s how you center the title,” I said as I demonstrated for them to see on the screen. “Now open your sharing settings and make sure it says anyone with the link can view AND share it directly with me. I always change my sharing settings when I create a document, so I do not have to remember (or forget) to do it later.”

“And now it is your turn- you can work on your bibliography, remember you know how to use the Google citation tool. You can also continue researching or working on your script. You know what will help you most right now.”

With that, the students scattered and immediately got right to work. They had had some time that felt like play, practicing with each other, and now they could get on with their project in any way they wanted. I was lucky that our EAL teacher and learning support teacher were both in the room too. We were there to support these fabulous fifth graders as they worked toward their Friday goal.

We worked right up until I heard the class next door return from performing arts and then I sent them across the hall for their turn. Clean up could wait- I did not want them to feel rushed.

When they returned 45 minutes later we put away Chromebooks and baskets and gathered on the carpet to finish our chapter book read aloud and enjoy the satisfying ending,

The voice in my head reminded me to once again slow down- we did not rush to get just one more thing done but enjoyed each other’s company. In this ever-so-busy time, I am glad to have that reminder playing in my head. Slow down, even when I feel like I do not have time to- it is almost always the right choice.

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4 thoughts on “Remembering to Slow Down

  1. When you take time to slow down, it reflects in your students’ attitudes as well. I’m sure they appreciated the extra calm reading time.

  2. I am with you on the need to slow down. We have a schedule that gives us less time per class. I have been struggling to learn that one lesson needs two days.I feel the need to get things finished, but have to remember not to rush. And you are right: it is always the right choice.

  3. In some ways do-do-do is so programmed in the role of a teacher and school day, that slowing down takes consciousness to notice when in a hurry and then intentional action to make a change. The busier we get the more important it is to pause.

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