I am not in control of my school or my kids's home lives or "the system" or special education in New York City but I AM in control of my classroom.
Friday morning I reminded us all of that. We had a class meeting about behavior. I admitted to them that I had not been doing a good job of rewarding their good behavior. They admitted they had been disrespectful. We reflected upon our first semester success and what had allowed us to achieve it. We talked about where they wanted to go with this semester and how they were going to get there.
I need to be more consistent. Even when I'm tired and sick and preoccupied.
I need to continue building culture. I stopped and it slipped. This weekend I printed pictures of our field trip - a set to put up in the room and a set to give to the kids. We came up with new rewards for when they fill the cotton ball jar, and we spent the day of our cancelled field trip (the bus never came) playing games. Clue, Battleship, Guess Who...anything where they had to interact with one another. At the end of the day we ate ice cream and laughed and told stories about the year so far. I didn't teach much. Not math and science and reading. I taught them how to function and how to get along with one another. It's a lesson that has somehow been forgotten. We're raising kids that don't know how to be people. On Friday we were people...together...and it was nice.