About Lori H Rice

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade for the past 19 years. Her students read books that are held together by tape, and because of budget cuts her school does not have a full-time librarian, art teacher, technology teacher or music teacher. As a result, she says, “our schedules are limited and cannot be arranged for what is best for students.”

Today at a meeting we discussed the inhibition of children.  Little children.  Children who have not started school yet.  The rawness of their play and emotions.  Think about watching a young child play or react or do anything.  They give 110% of themselves to the event.  In play that looks like imagination and sounds and movement.  They make sounds and create imaginary worlds.  In reacting that looks like tears and whole body stomping or laughter and a face covering smiling. They display their emotions whether happy or sad.  Kids LIVE their lives.

So what happens?  When do we teach children they must contain that?  When do we say blend in?  Don’t be unique?  Act like this?  I have always been proud (and sometimes jealous) of my daughter because she wears what she wants. She has a unique sense of fashion and puts on what is comfortable and makes her feel pretty.  At 9-years-old this is still true.  And I really hope that does not change (yes, this may be re-evaluated in her teen years).  I really hope she grows up to keep this confidences and play in her life.

Kids LIVE their lives. Click To Tweet

Thinking through this lens we need to look at our classrooms. While they are a place of learning, they are a community.  Making connections with students will increase engagement and student motivation.  Teaching the behaviors your want set your room up for success.  Your personal teaching philosophy, the physical space and classroom management all work together to allow them to be children, but focus their learning and encourage engagement. This is done in August, but should be revisited throughout the year.

Do you ever wonder?  Are you ever curious?  There is so much going on behind the scenes that we may or may not know.  When you have that difficult child, make a connection and ask questions.  Understand they may have situations that children should not have.   When you find a way to connect, you are taking a first step to help them. We need to remember our students are still children.

Along with the end of the first nine week the weather has been a mess all over the country.  This means less movement and indoor recess.  For kids, this means more built up energy.  There are things that have to be accomplished in classrooms, but try to understand when they wiggle and are loud.  Try to remember indoor recess means less movement.  Know that taking a few minutes to stretch, do yoga, check out a gonoodle or get up and move will help in the long run.  Try some strategies that get them moving during content.

Teaching is hard work, but so is being a kid.  This week, every time you want to say be quiet or sit still,  try to let them be children.  Create opportunities for movement, give them time to discuss and let them create.  It all goes too fast so we need to let them be children.  They bring an excitement and passion about life that can be used in your classroom.  Set up Genius Hour to let them learn from each other. Despite what adults do, children will grow up. So while they can, let's let them be children. Click To Tweet

 

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