After attending one of the coaching days, I quickly went back to my classroom and had students brainstorm what their classroom jobs should look like. They were able to add and delete job responsibilities, set schedules for when their jobs needed to be accomplished, and meet with other students to hear their suggestions. The result? An incredibly powerful day.
I also set up committees. I set up a Buddy Committee, where students could plan activities for us to do with our second grade buddies, a Celebration Committee to plan the winter party, a Service Committee to help with projects throughout the year, and a Design Committee to design our bulletin boards. Students applied for their top two committees, and so far they have been working fantastically! My Design Committee created an adorable bulletin board, my Buddy Committee successfully planned a turkey craft with our buddies, and the Service and Celebration Committees have been hard at work getting things ready through the end of the year.
I've also been impressed with handing more discipline issues over to my students. Last week, we had our first really rough day as a class (which is awesome to have made it all the way to November). After talking with my class, I had them decide what their consequence should be. Naturally, they were harder on themselves than I would have been, but the conversations I overheard them having during their class meeting was so powerful. I heard them sharing what had gone wrong during the day and how disappointed they were in their behavior. Then, they decided to take away their fun "Flashlight Friday" in reading and decided to write apology letters to our art teacher and school counselor. The result was a far more meaningful consequence that was student led and driven...much better than a teacher barking commands at a class.
My point is, when students are given a voice in their learning, you'd be amazed at the results. My students have FAR better ideas than me, and I can't wait to see where this journey takes us this year. It's okay to give up some of that "teacher control" and let your students take the lead...and you should try it. :)