Any classroom is full of routines. By now, with only one trimester of the school year left to go, some parts are truly rote. In a good way: seamless, smooth, expected, and slightly uneventful. When I was least expecting it, a very rote part of our day became a little more exciting (mainly, for me).
My district uses Wilson Fundations for phonics instruction. The beginning of every phonics block starts with a “drill leader”. The drill leader reviews the sounds from our anchor charts (vowel pairs, welded sounds, etc.).
By this time in the school year, a need to review some of these sounds isn’t 100% necessary. However, not every child has had the opportunity to be the drill leader, and it’s an exciting role for them. For real, if I am a little behind schedule (which I always seem to be), my students will promptly remind me- “It’s time for the drill leader!”. They are always holding me accountable!
Recently I asked the drill leader to hold their peers more accountable during this time, just like I do during other instructional times of the day. Of course, they loved this idea even more. After saying a sound-spelling pattern, like “a-m, ham, /am/”, they turn to face their peers and watch their peers as they repeat in response. If a student is off task or talking to their neighbor, the drill leader can kindly ask them to try again. “*student’s name*, can you please try that again?”. It really has been enjoyable to watch my students hold each other accountable. Today, a student took that accountability one step further.
So, the drill leader is up there and begins his duty. He turns to face his audience to hear them repeat his first prompt. Unimpressed, he says, “Can you guys please SLANT for me?” Ahhh! Did he just go there? Yep, yes he did! In my building we implement CHAMPS. One component of this program is to use and implement the acronym SLANT: Sit up, Listen to the speaker, Ask and answer questions, Nod and take notes, and Track the speaker. All of the students adjusted their bodies after his prompt. I paused the class and applauded this student for holding his peers accountable to such a high degree. He truly made my day.
You know when kids imitate their parents and regurgitate cute or mature things their parents say or do? Their parent’s character shines through their child… Well, the actions of my student today made me feel like my character was shining through them, like the modeling I do for them on a regular basis is truly soaking in. I needed that today.