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  • Writer's pictureKelly Priest

School is a Mix of My Plans and Other People’s Plans

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

My name is Ki’tay, and I am in the 4th grade at _________ School in Los Angeles. At my school, we do many different things in a day.

The schedule usually tells us what we will be working on during each part of the day. The parts of the schedule tell us what each main idea will be, like PE, Writing, or Math, for example. But the actual activities we will be doing in each part of the schedule are not usually listed. They change a lot so we can learn a lot of different things.

Some of our activities are things that I know I usually want to do, like _____________ and ____________. These are often already in my own plan or wish for the day. Some activities are familiar or comfortable enough that I can use my flexible thinking to help me get started. Even if the activity was not my own plan. And some activities are not my plan, or are a stretch for me, or a surprise, or happen at a tricky time of day for me.

When this happens, I might feel _____________ or _____________.

I might say something like,

  • _____________________________________ ...or...

  • _____________________________________

What I am thinking is something like, “______________________________________ .”

When this happens, my teachers and I may get stuck going back and forth about doing the activity that is not my plan. Here is a drawing of me and a teacher getting stuck:

This kind of back and forth talk is less surprising to me than the activity itself. But it is still stressful for me and for others. Sometimes I feel more upset as my teachers try to talk to me about doing the activity. Sometimes the teachers feel worried that they cannot help the other students enough when we are stuck in a back and forth.

So to avoid getting stuck, my teachers could let me take a “quick break.” This is to help me feel calmer so I can use my flexible thinking skills. Sometimes this helps kids to get started on a plan that is not their own.

Here are some choices my teachers and I agree would be a good quick break:

  • _________________________________________

  • _________________________________________

Here are some OK places for me to go during a quick break:

  • _________________________________________

  • _________________________________________

Another thing I can try to help me get started on an activity that is not my plan is to tell myself __________________________________________________________.

I can try to remember that part of belonging to a class and a school is doing some or many of the activities others are doing.

One reason for this is because if everyone in the class does their own plan, then the classroom would be too noisy and busy for anyone to learn. All the kids would be doing different things and asking different questions, so we would need more teachers and the classroom would be even more full of people.

Another reason is that by doing many of the same activities, we can possibly learn together. When we share our ideas about an activity we have all done, we can listen to each other and add on to each others’ ideas. That is one important part of belonging to a learning community because some people learn well that way.

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