It’s Friday, after a week of teaching information research, in preparation for my student to write an information piece related to teaching an aspect of American History.
I literally turned my classroom into a research library by checking out 145 books from the public library. (I love that Arlington County Library has unlimited checkout!) Then I began reading Chris Lehman’s book about research and made an anchor chart about how researchers need to choose the way to take notes – boxes and bullets, a web, a timeline, a t-chart..
Today I didn’t teach a mini-lesson. Instead, I told them to use the 50 minutes to read and take notes. I told them the room was the "research room in a library" so they needed to read, take notes and NO TALKING!
Back on Wednesday, I sent home a letter to parents encouraging them to help. We have a 3-day weekend and live just a Metro ride away from the National History and Technology Museum and the National Gallery of Art – 2 places to visit to help with our research. I plan to visit them both this weekend, too!! I want to see what topics the museum does have in to so next year I can do a better “drumroll”. I did a “write around” of 5 images related to 5 different times in history. But I think I can do better next year. Also, I want to get an idea of HOW a museum is set up. I keep telling the class that we are turning the classroom into a museum so the visit should be inspiring!!
I find the biggest challenge now is how to juggle 80 kids and about 40 topics. How do I help get books the kids can read? How to help kids read and then know how to hold onto the information by taking notes? It all feels VERY messy! It is exhausting. But it is exciting to see those students that are getting it!
I also need to WRITE this weekend my research paper. I picked the history of Venice to go with my trip I just took. I hope to get mine drafted, revised and published so I have it to teach from.
I also get to read 80 personal moments and score them using the checklist.
I also get to write another letter of recommendation for a student who wants to go to private MS.
I also am helping to plan a parent presentation on Writing Workshop at my school and need to preview videos and choose a few to show a week from Thursday night during the presentation.
So much is happening.
So much to do.
Being a teacher...a never ending job.
But I do love being the 5th grade writing teacher at Janney...