Just Two. That’s the number of times I needed to enter Mrs. Chapman’s classroom to know what to expect.
Yesterday, I felt special because my name was on the board announcing my visit. Today, I was slightly surprised to see it again. But now I know. I know that every day Mrs. Chapman will write a letter to the class with a date, greeting, body, and closing. It will explain a little bit about the schedule and anything new or different that I need to know. It will tell me what I should be doing when I enter the classroom. This is one of the many ways Mrs. Chapman has
created consistency performed small miracles in her classroom.
I came to capture Guided Reading but became fixed on the way character lives in this classroom
After students transitioned to the “circle table” for guided reading, students were given the clear direction to take out their materials and place their binders under their seats. Everyone moved quickly but one young man really struggled with organization. He could not find his materials. The others waited patiently. Even when he had to return to his desk and have the teacher comb through his binder, the others waited patiently.
Mrs. Chapman has incredibly high expectations for her students. She was quick to help the student find his materials to keep pace with her 25-minute lesson, but she also made it very clear to the student that he needed to follow her directions to help himself stay organized. While the the rest of the class took a brain break and participated in a CBI or community building initiative, this student was helped by the teacher to organize his materials. He was upset that he might miss “crew time,” which is thoroughly enjoyed by all students.
Though he was separated from the group, no student muttered a word or made a comment that would further upset the student. They didn’t do that because that isn’t how it’s done in Mrs. Chapman’s room. And it wasn’t just happenstance.
Earlier, one of the student’s made an error on his paper and he needed to correct it. “I don’t have a….” he was interrupted by another student giving him an eraser to borrow. Is a child letting another child borrow an eraser a small miracle? Of course it is when we live in a world where people see others in need as “entitled” and not worthy of sharing with.
When children demonstrate character, I am struck. And I am so very hopeful.
How do you incorporate teaching character to your students?