I know that at the beginning of the year, I can only get six-eight solid minutes every carpet time out of my students, so I have to make it count. I have found that this isn’t always easy.
So this gang of sweet, great and smart kids likes to shout things, which is not uncommon in classrooms. And there was no trick that I could think of that was helping me solve that problem. I didn’t like asking them to leave our carpet, just because they shouted something out. I’m excited that they’re excited about learning. I want to capitalize on that excitement, but it’s impossible to do so when kids are just shouting over one another to be heard. They have to learn to take their turn. But of course, we forgot that they have to be taught that.
It’s not about being “quiet”, it’s about being respectful to the fact that we need to listen and hear each other while we’re having whole group discussions. It’s about being calm so that you can really hear what someone else is saying. It’s about looking at someone when they speak, so that you can watch their facial expression.
Listening is hard. Listening is hard for adults … can you imagine how hard it is for kids that are just learning to listen?
But with the help of the Cookie Monster, it got a whole lot easier.
The video I’m embedding is called “The Biscotti Karate”, and teaches the Cookie Monster how to listen with his whole body: eyes watch; ears listen; mouth quiet; body calm. And so far, so good – it’s the most respectful I’ve seen them since we’ve started coming together for discussions on the carpet. We’re taking turns, we’re being mindful, and we’re breathing in deep. We’re listening, instead of thinking about what we’re going to say next. We’re reflecting on the words of others, which is an important part of listening.
So really, at the end of the day, the question is this: what does the Cookie Monster have that I don’t? What does he have that none of us have? Watch it to find out.