That wall-bouncing feeling, evident the minute they were walking down the hall toward my classroom door, required a quick reboot of today's lesson. I had planned for us to synthesize and name some big ideas we had been discussing all week in a graphic organizer. However, when the monkey-like sixth graders entered the room, I immediately recognized that we needed to do something more action-oriented that would allow them to wiggle and talk to each other in a less structured way.
They ended up using toy cars and a few different surfaces around school to try to make a connection between friction and motion. And, actually, it turned out to be quite a good lesson for generating data and creating graphs with Google Sheets, even though it kind of came together as the words were leaving my mouth. (Really, I could make a whole other related post right now about how important it is to map out the learning outcomes for a unit before you begin the unit- because then you can jump to a different thing if necessary, and it is still hooked into the bigger picture! That's a different post though.)
I've seen teachers and I've been that teacher who gets mad because the kids are so off the wall on a particular day and you have to fight them uphill (with no shoes, both directions, in the snow) to do anything. Some days maybe it is worth it, and some days it just seems like a better plan for everyone to just "lean into" the feeling and change your lesson plans accordingly.
Because my stress level went down, the students' stress level went down and we were able to have some quality learning opportunities. The less formal atmosphere on a crazy Friday actually allowed me to meet with students in small groups and have some good conferring sessions about what they were noticing and how this connected to what we've been trying to figure out in our statement of inquiry for the unit: Scientists develop equipment to protect people from the changes that are a consequence of unbalanced forces.
A little scrambling and a little flexibility (and a lot of pre-planning for the unit) can really go a long way to keeping me a sane, calm(er) person and not up on the roof! Happy Friday. I know it is for me.