Are They Learning?

The bell rings at 2:45 and I am often on my way out the door, bags in tow, no later than 3:00, in order to hit the reset button on my mom role, which begins promptly at 3:15.

So it is mornings when I get to meander through Room 15 and take stock of the chaos from the day before.  I make my way counter-clockwise, through the dim room, turning on each lamp as I go.

I see the pile of pencils on the bookcase. Cast offs saved by the kind-hearted custodians.

I see the book pile on the back table. The librarians remembered to find the left out books at the end of the day.

I see the read aloud all set out on the chair for the start of the day. It’s a fun one for before testing this week.

And then I find the first Dixie cup. 3×4 it reads. I don’t have to look very far to find some more. Tucked into nooks and crannies at all sorts of odd angles. A sign of learning that makes me chuckle.

Power Towers are stacking games to reinforce multiplication facts. My third graders have been stacking extraordinaires.  At some point the stacking game got stale. The Pringles cans got turned upside down and a single cup placed on top. Voila!  Target practice tower. Facts are furiously answered and a frenzy of cups goes flying to be the first to knock down that lone cup on top.

To the outside eye it’s a chaotic possible waste of time. To my meandering morning mind, it’s a sign of kids’ taking learning into their own hands and getting so caught up they miss the wayward flying Dixie cups.

And I for one, think it is glorious.




5 thoughts on “Are They Learning?

  1. Beautiful noticings of your learning environment! How important it is to take stock like you’ve done here, especially at this time of year when one can feel bogged down and overwhelmed. You turned things around for yourself. Way to go.

  2. What a lively description of your learning space. I completely agree, what appears to be chaos to some is learning for the keen observer! Can you please tell me more about the multiplication cup tower game???

    • You bet! I believe it’s called Power Tower. If you google it you will find a bunch of references. I took a Pringles can and filled it with little Dixie cups. On the outside of each cup is a fact and on the inside bottom is the answer. The object is to say the fact and check it and then build the tallest pyramid in the shortest amount of time. My old second grade teacher friend did them with addition and subtraction facts. 🙂 hope that helps.

  3. This is the best kind of learning…when it’s FUN! I’m definitely going to take a look at this. You are so aware of the surroundings of your classroom and explain everything with such detail…I see your class too! Thank you for sharing!

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