Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Super Moon and the Parking Lot

I know there isn't any scientific data to support the lunar effect (The “Lunar Effect”, sometimes called the “Transylvania Effect” is the notion that the phases of the moon have a note-worthy effect on human behaviour and mental health, Neil, Colledge 2000.) but I am a teacher. Yesterday we had a Super Moon and while I understand that there's no research to support behavior changes from this, I challenge you show up in any classroom and you'll believe it's real.

Students were fidgety and sillier than normal. I noticed everyone had a hard time sitting in their seats and focusing. We had lots more movement breaks. My last class of the day felt the effect, or demonstrated it, the most. They are the class that loves to ask questions, you know the class, that could ask questions during the whole block...My favorite is when a student prefaces their question with, "I have two questions." You know that student don't you? Every year, there's one or two who ALWAYS have two questions! This year, I have students who start with, "I have four questions..."

There was that moment...that moment when I could choose my reaction. I felt the pressure of "we have to get things done" bearing down on me and that reaction would mean I'd shut down the questions and move on...except I looked at their faces. They were all engaged and their questions were relevant and interesting. I took a breath and decided to follow their questions and see where we landed.

Questions mean curiosity.
Questions were building community.
Questions are important.
Questions create thinkers.

After a few more minutes, I knew we needed to move on to finish our read aloud, so I introduced the "Parking Lot". It's a piece of construction paper hanging on the wall. While class is happening, students have permission to take a sticky note and write their question down and walk over to put it in the parking lot. I will answer the question during a transition time. This brings peace of mind to students...they know their question will be answered. It also gives students a moment to move around if they need it.

The parking lot was a big hit in last block. As class continued, I noticed four or five questions pop up. I went over and grabbed them and answered all of them as we finished the read aloud. Students loved it! Thank you for the fun day, Super Moon! It gave me an opportunity to introduce the parking lot and create a safe space for questions.

I am hoping to meet lots of slicer friends at NCTE. Safe travels to all!
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  1. LOVE the parking lot idea, Michelle! I completely agree with you about the moon. About two years ago, our last day of school before summer was on Friday the 13th AND was a full moon. Talk about torture! Have a great time at NCTE!!

  2. I did not even connect the slightly wild day yesterday with the moon, but it makes sense! Have so much fun at NCTE!

  3. Let's keep in touch this week so we can see each other! I've seen the parking lot in PD presentations before but never thought to use it in my classroom. Duh!

  4. "Parking lots" are a great idea. I forgot about them! I have to admit though, I am feeling left out as once again a happenin' conference is abound and I'm not there. Have a blast at NCTE. I can't wait to hear about it!

  5. I believe the Super Moon did have a positive effect on everyone. I noticed it in my mood and my kids as well. I believe there is a Lunar effect. :)

  6. I've had parking lots for specific lessons, but not as an ongoing classroom tool. I am going to steal this from you. Have fun at NCTE!

  7. And yes, I do believe in that lunar effect. That coupled with the holiday weekend and the upcoming holiday week made my classroom a wiggly place. The parking lot is a great tool to capture their excitement! Great job!

  8. Thanks for the reminder about the parking lot - always a great idea for classrooms or professional development. And yes, I do believe in the lunar effect. I will be learning along with you at NCTE!

  9. There is too a lunar effect. You must not be looking at the right research. ;) I use something I call back channels in my classroom. It's similar to a parking lot, but instead of parking it until later we use it to show how stream of conscious thinking happens simultaneously with learning. It's like annotation.

  10. How smoothly you handled this "questioning that always happens", Michelle. Great idea bout the parking lot, too. I'm glad for your students who felt heard. Have a great time at NCTE!


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