Celebrate: Teachable Moments

Temperatures soared this week and with them, tempers. Kids had trouble. Some to the point that they fought verbally and physically. By Thursday we had some breeze and the AC started working. Things seemed to get better. But kids were still off. People hold on to hurt and don’t let go of it easily.  Sometimes teachers are thrust into the center of the sturm and drang of students’ lives. When that happens we need to negotiate those storms with them, beside them. It disrupts traditional instruction, but at times is the center of the instruction they need. This week I’m celebrating teachable moments that fall into our laps in spite of and sometimes because of those storms.

Friday: We were on the carpet, getting read to read Wonder. Students who struggle with self control and organization were having a hard time settling. Those who had more organization and control  were waiting patiently. “C” who sat in front muttered under his breath, “No one follows the rules.”

I was interested and asked, “Do really think that?” He looked up at me and nodded. Others around him started agreeing. So I opened it up to the room. With, this, “How many of you agree with the statement that ‘C’ made: no one follows the rules? ” All hands went up. I set the read aloud aside and I asked students to do a quick QFT on the statement.

They had done this questioning work based on the book Make Just One Change at he beginning of the year. In that case I had created a “Question Focus” and they generated questions off of it. This in-the-moment student-generated statement seemed like a perfect and necessary QFT opportunity. So with ten minutes remaining in the class period, I sent them off to generate questions.  Without reminders in the how to’s of generating, categorizing and prioritizing question students came up with an average of ten questions a group.  Some groups got into the philosophical issues of why, other questions  seem like the beginnings of investigations. Here are a few samples:

2014-09-20 04.44.332014-09-20 04.41.14   2014-09-20 04.43.01

       2014-09-20 04.46.06

While these questions may seem like kid stuff, I think they are really the root of some really big stuff.  They will do some investigations next week. It will be their investigation, I hope we all learn from it.

This week I celebrate a teachable moment that was made up of:

  1. a student’s statement
  2. stopping the planned to address the need
  3. an actionable strategy to generate questions
  4. students’ questions
  5. the future possibilities of figuring out answers or maybe more questions

Thank you Ruth Ayers for creating this space to celebrate our lives weekly. Find other celebrations here.

celebrate link up

12 thoughts on “Celebrate: Teachable Moments

  1. I love that you took time for that teachable moment! The questions they wrote seem like difficult questions to me. I think if we, as adults, had the answers to all of these, the world may look like a different place. Bravo to you for listening to what your students really needed!! I wish I could be a student in your class!

  2. What a thoughtful response to your student’s statement. Kids have so much to tell us when we don’t rush by and listen. I celebrate this with you and will take to heart your example.

  3. Empowering students to share feelings, and then to begin actions that will clear the air, and hopefully the problems is so good, Julieanne. It sounds like a great beginning to next week!

  4. Sometimes those moments are the ones that will have the most impact. I hope you will update this thinking and discussing that result from one simple statement.

  5. What a wonderful opportunity to put a strategy to work. I’ll look forward to hearing back from you about how this goes. It’s amazing to look at the questions they generated.

  6. I love the way you allow every not-so-great moment to have some glimmer of teachable moments – something positive you and your kiddos can take away and learn from. Such a gift, Julieanne!

  7. I love the way you seized the moment here, too! These are some very fine questions. And such a rich description of the settling in process. Thank you! (And great to connect with you via Google Hangout the other night. Made my day!)

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