Friday, April 25, 2014

Back at it after Spring Break!

I'll admit. I just checked to see if it has really just been one full week back at school after Spring Break. It feels much longer than just 5 days since I was on Spring Break. But it has been a fun, busy week!

Monday we got back to writing poetry! I had followed Chris Lehman over break doing a google-hangout on Poetry. I decided to just showed 5 minutes of his session #2 to my students as the mini-lesson. The teaching point is that we observe an object closely. Then write a descriptive paragraph that says all you observed. Then you revise it into a poem - add line breaks, eliminate words not needed. I didn't have strawberries but I had a basket of beanie babies and it worked fabulously. My favorite poem was Quint's:

Two black dots,
in a blizzard of snow,
feels very soft, like a small, white pillow.
one pink triangle,right above the mouth,
built just for sniffing,
north, west, east, south.

Tuesday was EARTH DAY! Our school is really big into recycling, reusing, and upcycling. For homework, I asked them to write a small moment, an essay, a poem or draw a picture to show how they take care of the earth. I filmed my lesson on Tuesday needed for an apllication I am completing. I chose to teach the kids about Langston Hughes. I had them picture the broken-winged bird in Dreams. Then to think about why he chose this image to compare to losing a dream. We had a strong class conversation. Then I asked them to read stanza two alone, visualize the barren, frozen field and ask why Langston Hughes chose this image. I went table by table, having  a small-group discussion of stanza two. I loved the discussion!!

Wed was Judith Viorst and as a class, we co-constructed our own poem stating what we would do IF WE WERE IN CHARGE OF THE WORLD.

Thursday we did a lesson that Ralph Fletcher taught me while he gave his keynote Speech at TCRWP August 2013 Summer Writing Institute. After I shared his poem:

The Good Old Times by Ralph Fletcher
Sometimes I remember
the good old days,

sitting on the kitchen floor
with my brothers and sister,

each on our own square
of cool linoleum.

I’m fresh from the bath,
wearing baseball pajamas.

Mom gives us a cup of milk,
two cookies, a kiss goodnight,

I still can’t imagine
anything better than that.

Then I had them write (just as Ralph had me do at the Institute) the first 2 lines at the top of their notebook page and the last 2 lines on the bottom of the page. I set the timer and we wrote for 5 minutes. WOW. Lots of great poems were drafted using this format!!

I'm looking foward to Monday when we remove all the poems from our classroom wall window and ask the kids to reflect on their work and to create their own Poetry Anthology! I wouldn't stop but the books are due back at the library and I need to begin the test prep will be May 20th before I know it!

It felt great to do lots of small group work this week! My students really makes it hard to do small group work but I'm doing to keep trying. Plus, the Reading Teacher will be helping some of the kids next week too. The ESOL teacher plans to help me on Tue and Thur, too.

So now it is Friday night. It's been a busy, fun week! Tomorrow I'm heading to C'ville to watch my daughter's Shakespeare on the Lawn performance. Then do planning and maybe lawn work on Sunday (I'm excited - I got the lawn mower fixed over break!). It's a fun feeling knowing the school year is winding down! And I am feeling very, very confident. I am so glad I returned to the classroom!!

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