Updated: Oct 23, 2018
I want to introduce you to Jess Bennett, a fourth year preservice teacher from Geelong, Australia who is a self proclaimed glitter enthusiast. A couple of weeks ago I came across Jess' amazing Instagram feed where she posts creative ideas and strategies. One of those strategies is called "Quiet Critters", here to tell you more about is our guest blogger for this week, Jess Bennett (@adventures_with_miss_b) - take it away Jess (imagine microphone being passed)....
Hi! I am Jess, and I am about to graduate and begin my teaching career in January of 2019. I am passionate about creating fun, engaging learning environments through the use of hands-on, creative resources. One of my strongest beliefs is that in order for students to grow and learn; they need to be invested in their learning.
Put simply, boredom = disengagement.
I am a self-confessed craft addict and love to create my own resources, whether it be an original idea or something based on the inspiration of other fellow educators.
I am currently completing my final rounds at a local primary school with a composite class of grade 1/2 students and I started to realize that silent reading was an area these kids struggled with. The noise, chatter and distractions were at an all-time high. After researching classroom management techniques, I came across a resource on Teachers Pay Teachers called “Quiet Critters” by Relief Teaching Ideas and knew these little guys were the best choice for my group of students.
Essentially, “Quiet Critters” are pom-poms with googly eyes and felt feet (I added small hats, bows and antennae to mine) that act as little noise level monitors. The idea is that they live in a large jar which is soundproof and only come out when it is quiet. Too much noise and they get frightened and go back into their jar. The critters love to watch students work, however don’t like to be handled so they must only sit on their desk. As the name suggests, the critters are only needed when quiet tasks are being completed – in my case, this was silent reading.
When introducing the critters to the class, I emphasized the level of wonder; these critters were special little fellas in our classroom and it’s really important we all make sure that we don’t frighten them. Well, the 1/2's absolutely ran with it! They are obsessed and 100% believe these critters are alive! I make sure I bring them out sparingly, so they don’t lose their effect. When the learning task is over, I ask all students to return the critters to their home. The noise levels have decreased significantly and engagement levels with silent reading tasks are at an all-time high!
I would recommend any preservice teacher to create a jar of these critters and have them handy for when you are on rounds – a very effective (and fun) way to engage students while also developing your classroom management skills!
Thank you for reading, good luck to all the preservice teachers out there – let’s help these little ones grow!