This is the latest in a series of blogs by a partnering cohort teacher.
By Chante Adams and Sharon Liston
Throughout our fluency journey, compassion is a value that we have felt very passionate about. Fluency has allowed us to make deeper connections with our students and within ourselves. We strive daily to bring compassion into our classrooms through modeling. Further we aim to foster this through student collaboration.
Even though one of us teaches first grade and the other third, our classrooms are right next door to one another. At our last Fluency gathering, Sharon and I collaborated to create a learning opportunity focused on compassion for and with our students.
We brought both classrooms together and began with a conversation about feelings. We wanted our students to know that no matter the age, everyone has different feelings that they experience each day. Further, we discussed how certain events can change these feelings throughout the day.
Next, we followed by sharing the book “Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day” by Jamie Lee Curtis. We used our smart board for this and tied in how books can be read over the computer. Once the book concluded, the first grade students were given the opportunity to collaborate with the third grade students to create “feeling faces” to show how they were feeling. In addition to the art, the third grade students helped the first grade students put their feeling into words on the back of their plates by creating a sentence about their feelings.
During this time, we walked around as facilitators. We noticed that the third grade students stepped into a leadership role. These students exemplified compassion with their patience, guidance, and kindness towards the younger students. For example, one third grade student was working with a first grade student who is below grade level in reading and writing. The third grade student helped this student put his thoughts into words and helped them record those thoughts by sounding out words for them to write.
In the beginning, we had planned to focus the collaboration on compassion. However, the students transformed this lesson into a lesson that exemplified equity and agency as well. This experience was not only a learning experience for our students, but also to us as teachers. This example shows how fluency can work with students at different grade levels and with students who have various academic abilities.
We look forward to providing our students with more opportunities to learn and grow with the core values of the Fluency Project.
Chante Adams graduated from Ohio University Eastern in 2008 with a major in Early Childhood Education. Chante continued her studies to earn a 4th and 5th grade endorsement along with a K-12 Reading Endorsement following graduation. Chante began a career as a teacher at Bridgeport Elementary School in third grade and continues in that position today. Chante has been engaged in leadership programs within her district including the District Leadership Team, the Building Leadership Team, and monthly after school learning opportunities with fellow teachers and administrators. Chante’s special interests include spending time with family and friends, watching sports, and reading. Sharon Liston graduated from Ohio University Eastern in 2001 with a BSED. She graduated from Muskingum in 2005 with a master’s in special education. Sharon began her career as a 5 through 8 special education teacher at Bridgeport Middle school. She is currently teaching first grade regular education. Sharon is on the District Leadership Team, Building Leadership Team. OTES committee, and is the Program Coordinator of our RESED program. Both Chante and Sharon are currently members of Cohort 3 of The Data and Technology Fluency Project with West Liberty University and the CREATE Lab (situated in Carnegie Mellon University).