Beyond Comfort Zones
Love of School
In parent conferences I hear, “He is excited to come to school and never wants to miss a day.” “Our mornings are so smooth now. She is dressed and ready all on her own and on time every morning.” These same students often choose to put in a little extra work before playing.
Revisiting definitions and expectations for individual checks has noticeably improved students’ approach to goal setting. Now comfortable with daily processes and how to access content, students are better able to understand how incremental work fits in with long term goals.
Pushing students outside their comfortable friend groups for cooperative projects increased planning time, decreased arguing, and allowed everyone to contribute. In a recent project block, guides chose the makeup of the work groups to some considerable complaining. Once the initial complaints subsided, students quickly turned to their group members and began to divide up the tasks. Five of the six groups were able to complete their research, create visual aids and prep for presentations within the time provided with little to no adult help.
As I walked around listening I heard students offering to take on extra jobs and helping peers find needed information. At one point, several students had to leave before presentations began. Their group mates offered to present for them and the absent students made sure to leave complete materials for their group. Afterwards I spoke with the one group that did not communicate effectively. They expressed frustration but were also able to articulate where things went wrong and offered strategies they would try next time the encountered conflict.