How today went down:
–Kids showed up wearing red. Had at least 80% wearing some derivative of red, which was awesome. Also had several kids paint their faces and hair.
–Greeted in the parking lot by a student shouting, MSSSS, I’m “RED”y!! Talk about a heart-warmer.
–Began class with the Contender theme song, which is my fave. Kids wrote down 2 strategies they would use tomorrow and put their index cards in a drawing for the end of class….contingent upon earning no marks for behavior.
–Went through their Fireworks Contract for tomorrow….everything from 8 hours of sleep to taking breaks on the test.
–Had a few random reminders, including what to do if you just don’t know how to answer the question.
–Then, we got to the fun part
——-I put on the screen the fireworks show from London. It was awesome, and we talked about how they’ve had fireworks all year, and tomorrow would be like the New Years in terms of crazy fireworks going off.
—–We formed a circle and passed around yarn. First, we went around with the yellow yarn, saying one thing we’re nervous about. I had two (I’m the teacher, so I always have exceptions)….1) that some students wouldn’t take their time, use strategies, and would make silly mistakes. 2) that some students were nervous and they shouldn’t be. I told them that if I wasn’t confident they were all going to pass, we’d be doing worksheets today, not an activity. I saw some “ooohs” with that statement, so I hope it worked. It’s mostly true.
—–the 2nd color was red. Because we’re “RED”y, we said one thing we’re confident about. I said that I was confident every student who used all the strategies would meet their goals.
—-the last color was turquoise. You said one or two (or in some cases 8) people you were excited to tell when you got your awesome scores. I, again, cheated, and said 2. sorta. The first is my mom because I tell her everything and she gets excited for me. (Several students later said they were going to tell my mom too to join in the excitement, haha) The 2nd was telling them and jumping with joy with them when they got back the great news.
We tied the strings together and formed a bracelet that everyone is wearing tomorrow to remind ourselves that we’re all nervous about some things, but we all have some things we are AMAZING at, we’re “RED”y, and there is someone who will be excited to hear how great we did. In 1st period, a lot of the kids were goofy and trying to be funny, but by 2nd period I had a better grasp on how to set a more reflective tone. The sweetest one was one girl saying she would tell her mom, and then “I don’t know if you guys think this is weird, but then my mom will take me to the cemetery and I’ll tell my dad.” Immediately, multiple students were assuring her that that wasn’t weird and that they thought it was really sweet. It made me tear up a little.
Lastly, we had “smarties” b/c they’re “RED”y and duh, smart, “starburst” because their knowledge is going to burst forth with fireworks tmrw, and a “hug” because all the teachers are supporting them. With this, they got the note a classmate wrote them and a note I wrote them.
It was awesome!
To conclude, they watched a short clip, you can youtube it – 212 degrees – about the difference between being good and great. Obviously, we’re shooting for great
The kids were really hyper today, but it went pretty well. They seemed to enjoy it. I went through random spasms of being really proud of them and starting to freak about what that writing prompt will be tomorrow or what random question is going to trip them up.
Thanks for all the prayers for my kiddos. The coolest thing today, by far, was seeing my lowest kids SUPER CONFIDENT. One said she intends to score a 4 on her essay, and another was crappy in her other classes but ON THE BALL in my class. She said she wasn’t nervous because she knew she was going to pass, and she said she was confident we were dragons and that we would all light that test on fire. She also reminded ME of our pinky promise that she would use every strategy, every time. And another left class shouting back at me that “I’m “RED”y, miss!”