Or practice what we've learned.
Or do the task set forth by the teacher.
On a chair
He is completing his math "problem" in the most interesting way. I do not care. He is working. He is staying on task. And apparently, his body needed a different angle.
On the floor, with a friend
At a table, with a group of friends
Everyone finished at about the same time. Whether it was independent, or with others. I love that they are choosing what works for them to practice/complete a task. (This task was to show in their journal as many ways as possible that 7 marbles could be split into 2 different cups--write the addition fact to show the way. Great problem solving activity, since we had completed a similar one together just moments earlier.)
And they loved it also.
In fact, when they were done, they gravitated toward books, and their poetry folder. Some wrote more poetry to add, others practiced what was in it.
Then the BEST. THING. EVER.
Independent from me, an impromptu reading/singing of poetry. Students gathered around after being invited by a couple.
And their appreciation was expressed in applause. I did not start it, but sure did join in.
Now as I reflect on those moments...
**Gratitude for time and space to allow these special children to choose a meaningful activity.
**Gratitude that social skills were being used by all (and recognized by others). So much so that one girl came to me and said--"I think you should give everyone 2 beads (my PBIS--please do not ask what that means, just know that it is 'catch them being good'), because everyone is getting along and no one is yelling."
I gave her a humungous handful of beads, and she joyfully spread them around to ALL of the students.
**It felt like recess, because of so much choice. But it was real learning and practicing. Both reading and math, but also social skills. "Will you read this book to me?" "Come on, let's practice this." "Do you have a number chart that goes higher than 100? I want to make harder math problems."
**I am down to two desks, two circle tables, one rectangle table, and a kidney table. I think this will do it. It almost feels like we can breathe. We are more relaxed. We focus better (except for right after lunch). And I do not freak out about desks moving around or who is touching who's desk.
I really need to get a photo of the classroom. People walk by and say, you have so much room. Yes, I do. And we LOVE it.