I had a “Wow” moment last week when I visited a 3rd grade teacher’s classroom. You know how something hard like ice skating can look easy when a skilled person does it? This teacher’s skill: building a team approach to celebrating success.
It started simply enough during a class meeting. As students gathered, I could feel their barely restrained excitement. The teacher exchanged knowing looks with the class and said, “Today we’re going to celebrate our newest Multiplication Super Hero, .…” A charge of excitement went through the class, as they looked from face to face. A few spotted a girl’s shy smile, the class noticed and squealed her name in excited recognition. It was a touching moment to see such a shy student stand and glow in response to her peers’ spontaneous excitement.
Next, the teacher tied a cape on the new super hero and handed her a push pin! As he held a balloon over her head, the class shouted, “NOW!” Suddenly I heard a POP! and students scrambled to retrieve small bits of colored paper cascading on their heads.
WOW! What a simple, powerful ritual. Although the newest super-hero had worked longer than many students to achieve this status, I doubt she remembered the hard times or struggle. She and the class were literally doused with success. The power of this simple ritual had clearly bonded the students and built exuberant anticipation for the next chance to POP!
I'm not sure about you, but I have childhood multiplication memories of endless tests and tense flash card drills.
I’d gladly trade my memories for a bit of peer excitement and a good dousing of Pop-Pop-Pop success!