I read a blog post earlier this week by Common Core Galore and More! and it was hilarious. You should read it. It gives a very honest look at one teacher’s perspective of centers from the “zoo cage.” It was as though she took a photo of my classroom when I taught first grade and wrote about it. Spot on. Now that I’m an intermediate grade teacher, things aren’t much different during centers. We call them stations now.
So last week, I left the zoo cage.
If you are wondering what the zoo cage is, it is the teacher’s seat at the small group table, tucked away to the side of the room where much maneuvering is required to get out. The problem is that the kids know you are trapped, and while the cat’s away, the mice will play…
Last week, quite by accident, things changed in my room and I escaped! In all the hustle and bustle of teaching and meetings and trainings and tutoring and paperwork and the various other minutia that makes up a large percentage of a teacher’s job, my small group table has become a pile of projects and it just wasn’t suitable for children. But, this was no excuse not to meet with my kiddos who needed a refresher on multiplying and dividing with decimals. So, I moved to the rug. With clipboards in hand, my students gathered eagerly (well, obediently) around my easel and all was right with the world! Things weren’t perfect, but I certainly had a better position in the room. I could see more, get up and around faster, and interact more openly with the others who were working on tech projects.
It has been over a week now, and I plan to continue my experiment and let you know how it goes. Happy teaching!
Teach small groups somewhere other than small group table? Challenge accepted!