Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sometimes You Just Need a Break

Sometimes you just need a break. Sometimes kids need a break. You can see it in their eyes, their body language, their responses...and today my kids were there. They've been working really hard lately on their research papers for science fair, and as we get closer to winter break, and the snow has come, I could sense they needed a break today. We all independently read our choice books for the first 15 minutes of class each day, and my cue to them at the end of that time is, "Okay, get to a good stopping point." Sometimes I hear groans in response to that. Sometimes I hear (my personal favorite), "Mrs. Heise, I don't believe in good stopping points." Sometimes I hear, "This book doesn't have any stopping points. I need to keep reading." Sometimes I hear, "But, I'm almost done! I just have a little bit more to go." Sometimes I hear, "Can't we just keep reading? Pleeeaaase?!" Today was one of those days with groans and begging to read longer.

I could sense it. The need for a break. And in that moment I realized that there are those days when we need a break, or a chance to get re-caught up, or just an opportunity to breathe. Today was one of those days. So I went with what I could see on their faces and hear in their voices. For some of my students, that meant they had a chance to work on their research papers because they had fallen behind and needed to use the time to get caught up. For some of my students, it meant they could catch up on their logging of books they've read and recording their thoughts about them. For others, it meant some time to continue getting lost in their books and be engaged in their reading. For some, it meant time to scour the bookshelves for TBR stacks to check out for our two week winter break. For a few, it even meant the chance to finish a book they were so close to getting to the end of after the first fifteen minutes. It was one of those days where they needed a break, and it worked out well because a break for some of them meant just getting caught up instead of continuing to push forward, which means they'll be better prepared tomorrow and we'll all be able to move on to the next lesson together. Although it was a "break", it was not free time - it was productive time for all. Sometimes a break is just what we need.

A peek into our "break" room.

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