Posts Tagged ‘gifted students’

Slice of Life 2021 Day 1: Looking

March 1, 2021

Today marks the first day of March, the first day of the Slice of Life blogging challenge. I’ve committed to write each and every day during the month of March and – who knows? – maybe even longer. Join me!

A commitment to writing each and every day. Am I looking forward to it? Down into the abyss of overcommitment? Up into my imagination, into my own world of wonder? In at my sense of resolve and discipline?

There’s no doubt about it. The comfortable side of my brain is dragging her feet, crossing her arms and shaking her head in disbelief that I have committed myself to one. More. Darn. Thing. Still, I know full well from my participation last year how incredibly valuable this challenge is for me as a writer, a teacher, and as a human.

I’ve become braver as a writer. I’m almost as brave as my students, and I still hope to write with the same fearlessness that they do. The more I write with and alongside my students, the more respect and admiration I have for what they do.

I’ve also realized that I have the power to take the writing community I’ve come to enjoy, and bring that to my students. Why shouldn’t they have the benefit of seeing and hearing others discuss their work? Why shouldn’t they see themselves as real writers, with real audiences, writing with genuine purpose?

That’s the work I’m taking on, both this month and in months to come. We’re setting up trusted reader circles: groups of students who read one another’s work, cheer each other on, and offer honest feedback and support.

Today we dipped our toes into the waters. We used a piece of writing I did last year during the Slice of Life challenge as a mentor text for how we might talk about one another’s work. Then, they’ll do the same thing for one another.

Where will it go? Well, I’m hoping this catches on, that students will feel their writing is good enough and strong enough to serve as mentor text any day of the week. I’m hoping kids will see themselves as true peers and collaborators. I’m also hoping I can take this model and farm it out to other teachers.

Look out. Here we come!

Why I’m in the Living Room

January 13, 2021

watching the British Bake Show
and not in the family room
watching TV
at the end of a long day
right by my husband
is because

after enough time
standing on my feet
rubbing my eyes
taking a breath
shaking my head as I
stare at the world about me

I have decided
that I am done
watching
fictional shows

about the real world

Encouraging Signs

November 10, 2020

It all started with a super-cute dog video.
(Go ahead and watch. it’s only about a minute long.)

And then a question. “Is this language?”

Boy oh boy, did THAT ever stir up conversation. For me, as a teacher, this could not POSSIBLY have gone any better.
I wanted students to be engaged from the get-go. Check.
I wanted them to be excited to talk about big ideas. Check.
I wanted them to be curious about stuff they didn’t know. Check.
I wanted them to have conversations about difficult things without getting into arguments. Ch-well, no. We have some work to do on that one.

But the fruits of their labor are spectacular. Small groups worked together to develop rules for what language is. Here is their work, collected together:

Rules for Language:

Only represents part of communication 
A code that uses sounds, symbols, signals
Has to convey meaning and be understood by who is using it
Needs to be consistent
Set grammar and structure
Many people share
People can both understand and talk back
It can be translated to other languages
Doesn’t have to be spoken
Don’t always need a recipient-can just be for self-expression
Verbal language involves phonics, structure
The symbols and codes can change, but people need to know about it
People have to USE it
Requires socially shared rules

Whoever said that 10 year-olds are not ready for thinking about and exploring big ideas, I offer you THIS as evidence to the contrary.

And this is only day TWO of our work together. Am I excited to see where this goes? Maybe a little.