I saw the value in setting up the environment and then just getting out of the way this week.
1. I taught mini-lessons on how to create a strong concept book for beginning readers. Then I just gave time to my writers to work using the presentation mode in Google apps. NOW, I have 10 ABC ebooks in a digital dropbox that I shared with my friends that teach K and 1st grade and 17 concept eBooks in another dropbox. I showed them mentor text, I reminded them to use repeated phrasing page by page to help the reader read it. I encouraged them to add a clear image so the reader can read the picture, too. AND then I got out of the way. They got to work and produced books beyond my expectations.
2. My grade-level is having our students host a Farmer's Market June 11th and 12th. This week, my groups who are making products using lavander and chive, met with me for the last hour of each day to create advertisement for the event. The first 2 days I shared mini-lessons to point out the moves advertizers make including persuasive writing, font size, color and images. AND then I got out of the way. They opened microsoft publisher on their computer and created amazing fliers!
3. On Wed, we ended our session talking about how we might create a music jiggle to add to a commercial to show on our school's morning broadcast. Quickly it was determinied that all knew the song Let It Go from Frozen. So in minutes (because that is all I had), I sent the lyrics to Let It Go to the printer. I gave all a copy and said for homework to think about how we could use this tune with different words to advertise our Farmer's Market. (Literally, this all happened in 4 minutes). AND then I got out of the way. The next day, nine out of 22 students brought in their new words, some scribbled on the lyric page I handled out, others having printed out their ideas at home using their computer. I asked each song-writer to get with the kids who didn't write and share their ideas. I asked them to circle the lines they all think are the best lines. Knowing that 22 of us couldn't really combine all the great ideas into just one song, I collected the ideas and for my homework, I combined the words to be one song. Then next day, I handed out the words. We rehearsed, collectively tweeked some words and lines. Then I filmed them singing this very clever "commerical". It will show all next week on the morning announcements!
These three examples remind me how important it is as a teacher to GET OUT OF THE WAY! I modeled ways to make a concept book and then I let the kids do the work. I shared what good fliers look like and then I let the kids do the work. I listened as the kids shared their knowledge of a song. (full disclosure - I am NOT a singer and I haven't yet seen Frozen!). I set them up with the lyrics and then I let the kids do the work.
I need to keep the spirit that occurred in my classroom this week ALWAYS in my classrooms of the future. It is only by getting out of the way, that kids can really learn!
Looking Ahead: June starts....3 full weeks of school and 3 snow make-up days and then, my 2013-14 school year back in the classroom comes to an end on June 25th. Then June 28th I head to TCRWP for the July Reading Institute!!