Last week, I decided on my one word goal for this year. I want to focus on hearing. With it being the first day back after the holidays, I decided to spend some time really listening to the students in the classroom, but also, really listening to — and hearing — myself.
During our transitional time this morning — from Free Exploration to Recess Time — we gathered on the carpet and sang, Down By The Bay. We’re working on rhyming (phonemic awareness skills), and students are starting to create their own rhyming verses.
Down By The Bay helps us rhyme (phonemic awareness). pic.twitter.com/raJPqkHR4D
— Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) January 4, 2016
I initially noticed that some students were singing more than others, so I thought that I would encourage more singing by using a technique that I’ve used before: “I really like the way that _________ is singing along.” Usually then, others start to chime in more so that I’ll call their name. Something interesting happened today though …
After I made a couple of comments about how students were singing, one child that was sitting down next to me said, “Miss Dunsiger, Miss Dunsiger, don’t you like how I’m singing?” At the time, I thought, “Well she isn’t singing right now. She’s talking to me. That’s why I didn’t call her name.” But then I started to look around and I realized how many other students were singing nicely, and how many students I missed. I quickly started to call out more names, and I may have even made a general comment about the singing, but I know that I missed many names.
Hearing what this one child had to say has me thinking more tonight. For years, I’ve encouraged students with the use of a similar technique to the one that I used this morning. I never thought twice about it. Now though, I wonder about the students that I miss. I wonder what students are thinking when their names are not called.
- Do they start to give up?
- Maybe they struggle with this kind of activity. What if they question their ability to succeed?
- In my attempt to encourage, am I really discouraging some?
Aligning with my one word goal from last year, I’m learning that sometimes it can be very uncomfortable when we take the time to really “hear” ourselves and others. Maybe it’s time for me to reconsider the approach that I used today. What do you think?