Saturday, January 23, 2016

Letting them be little...

This post is coming straight from the heart, friends. Many of you know that I don't have kids yet (does Shilah count?), but I pride myself in at least feeling somewhat like a mommy when I am responsible for 25 little ones each school year.

So let's have some real-talk, teacher style. We all have standards. We all have curriculum. And we all have pressure, whether that comes internally from wanting to do the best job we can for our students or other places. Ya'll know what I mean!

Tonight I am sharing 5 ways I let my kids be kids...

1. Take advance of the time the students want to use teamwork in the classroom, even if it's taking five minutes out of the day to create something together!

During math, my students asked me if they could make something out of the dominoes and I told them they could have time at the end of the lesson. I am so glad I did! 
2. Bring drawing back into the classroom.

I am sure this is controversial. Most of our kids go to art and do artistic things there. But... I can't help it. Every once in awhile I will read a story and ask the kids to illustrate a page from the story or draw a connection they made while I was reading. I will hang them in the classroom too. Drawings make our classroom so pretty and make the classroom their own. This isn't just my space! 
3. On the art note, do projects when you can. 

This was a super quick and easy holiday art project that took about 15 minutes. When we do different and fun projects with the kids, I have no doubt that they remember them! It's what makes learning fun. 
4. Let the kids earn free time.

Ok, let me explain. Yes, these are blocks. Yes, I teach second grade. Yes I said it... free time. Together as a class we can earn up to 15 minutes each week. This helps me from a management standpoint throughout the week and allows the students to build relationships in the classroom.
5. Celebrate your classroom family often!

This photo was taken the first day after our winter break. We had about two weeks off and it's hard for anyone to come back to school after that much time off! We started our day by sharing the best parts of our break and how we were going to focus ourselves that day in the classroom.

I will end by saying, I wish we had friendship building or social standards just like math and reading standards. Unfortunately we don't. What I do know is that it's our job as teachers to help our students function cooperatively in a society one day.

This is just my personal opinion, but I think that "letting them be little" every once in awhile is going to have lasting effects and we should be taking advantage of that when we can.

Thanks for stopping by, friends! As always, I'd love to hear any of your thoughts on this topic in the comments section!


  1. You are so right! It is so important for little ones have time to have fun and connect with others. You are doing a great job...Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for your support Karen!

  2. Love this, Melissa! I feel the same way! I brought back 15 minutes of center time at the end of the day because their little brains can just take so much!!

    You rock!

    1. Gina,
      I am so happy that we have connected through blogging! It means the world to me!

  3. I wish we had team building standards too. I try to incorporate many of these things as well. It's hard when the "powers that be" don't totally support this. I guess the pressures of standardized testing really come into play in the upper grades as well.

    1. Kim,
      You are so right! How do we fit it all in? It just doesn't seem possible! But, we make it work the best we can! Thanks for stopping by!!

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Marla! I really appreciate your support!

  5. Totally agree with you - and we should let them be littler *more than just once in awhile!
    In Illinois we have Social - Emotional Standards, which would encompass everything in this post! Thank you for sharing :-)

    1. I really appreciate you stopping by, Michelle! When I look around and see my students cooperating, laughing, learning friendships skills... well, I couldn't be happier!

  6. I love this post! I teach third grade and they have the opportunity to earn up to 15 minutes of free time as well....The conversations you hear in the room to earn these minutes are amazing! The encouragement and positive reinforcement between them brings me great joy! :)