As the days go by in the classroom, educators must recognize that students need breaks. Students need to be given opportunities to sit with each other to grow, learn, and be children. Being a fifth grade teacher, I am constantly reminded that my students are still children. They need to have moments to stop and be reminded that they are still children. We need to be silly…we need to laugh…we need to dance…we need to sing. How do we do this as educators? Well, we expect the unexpected!
Educators setup lesson plans…we setup guidelines…we setup classrooms that we feel will be the best environment for learning. Yet, we do all this and sometimes the best lessons come from those unexpected moments of stopping and building on a question from a student that leads you to something new…something that takes the lesson in a new direction…to a learning moment that involves having students grow academically, socially, and emotionally.
These unexpected moments are when you change direction and take that risk to go away from YOUR plan and into THEIR plan. The key to all this is that it is YOUR plan…if it is YOUR plan where does the say of students come in? THEIR plan are filled with unexpected moments. They know what they need. We need to recognize what they need. Plans are made to change. Plans are made to be filled with opportunities to let students be children.
I spent this morning with fellow teachers guiding students in making ornaments for a Christmas movie themed tree. Students socialized with their buddies and created so many wonderful ornaments. Following their ornament making, we came back to our classroom and we could’ve moved onto a lesson, but the students deserved a break…so we watched VeggieTales and a story about Christmas. They sat quietly and enjoyed it…they were being children. It are these moments that make me appreciate the unexpected. Was this in my plan for the day? No. Did I need to do this? No. Was it the best thing for the students? Perhaps. Did it build a relationship between the students of this classroom? Absolutely. That’s what this is about. The unexpected moments building my classroom into a community. That’s so important to me!
Unexpected moments lead to expected results. I have found those results involve laughing, singing, smiles, and a stronger classroom. Letting students be children in unexpected moments brings joy to a classroom. I’m so grateful that I had this unexpected moment today!