For the month of March I am writing a daily slice of life. Thank you Tara, Anna, Dana, Stacey, Betsy and Beth at Two Writing Teachers for this blogging community of teachers, readers and writers. They give me ideas, keep me inspired, and sometimes make me shed a tear or two. Check some of the many slices for day 12 of the challenge here.
Life in and around the classroom is a busy place. Here six mini slices that happened today.
One. We are working on information text and thinking deeply about what the writer is trying to teach us. This has been a process coming up with central ideas that the writer wants us to know versus what pops out at us as important because we place more value on it. We took next steps today by
- Creating a menu of possible central ideas (thanks Fran)
- We voted on which ones seemed to be the ones that we thought “fit” the author’s intent most closely
- We had a tie, so we looked for evidence of each one.
- We decided the one with the most information supporting the central idea was what the author was focusing on.
- We had a tie, so we had to look again and think.
Two. We (a few students and I) are blogging at lunch. I finally got them the link for the Slice of Life Classroom Blog so they can comment. Their thoughts,
- “Wow they have a lot of people blogging!”
- “Hey we can call it sol instead of Slice of Life.”
Three. Two students are pursuing their stopmotion video at lunch in preparation for Genius Hour on Thursday. The power of choice right here.
Four. I am passionate about blueberries now. Part of this is fueled by the lack of choice in my refrigerator.
Five. We started instructional rounds as a staff. Today we got into teams of three and walked classrooms our focus being writing charts. I went looking with these questions in mind:
- What do I feel validated about in my teaching? I keep charts up only if they are being used.
- What questions do I have about my teaching? Are my charts truly usable/inviting? Could they be more multi-purpose reaching across units of study? Do they foster enough independence? Could I develop a spot that effectively supports for independent writing work?
- What are some new ideas I see that I can take to my classroom? Here are just a few…
Six. During the staff meeting we played “It Sucks.” A few of us played this at edcampLA and thought we should bring it home. If you’ve never played, it goes like this– You come up with some controversial topics and ask the staff members to decide if they think it sucks, it’s awesome or if it is somewhere in the middle.
One side of the room is the “it sucks” side the other is the “it’s awesome” side. When the topic is named by the moderator, you put yourself on the spectrum by standing in the place you feel you are on the topic.
The moderator asks volunteers on either side of the issue to state their case. If you feel so moved you might shift your position a little in one direction or another based on their comment. Each round only lasts five minutes.
Results are fascinating. You learn about your colleagues and your mind opens up just a bit.
Our topics included homework, high stakes testing, teacher evaluations, English Language Learner Groupings, incentive systems for students, and BYOD.
Energy and ideas were everywhere. So glad to have the opportunity to connect with people who are right there, but sometimes so far away.
Looking forward to our next steps.