SOL #13 – “It didn’t go as planned.”

The mid-month slump is here and I’m out of ideas.   It always seems to happen around this time and results in procrastination.  Lots of procrastination.  Dinner.  Dishes.  Netflix.  I started reading and commenting on student blogs.

One of my talented writers wrote a post about wet grass.  In it she wrote, “It didn’t go as planned.”  And that got me thinking…so many things have not gone as planned. In my life.  In each day of teaching.

Now I have a list of slices.  Being a teen mom.  The discussion on women’s rights on Friday.   A read aloud.  Losing at Monopoly. So, today’s slice is about not having ideas and finding inspiration in my student.  But, I also have a list of other ideas in my notebook ready for the upcoming week.

 

 

 

 

SOL # 8 – Confined Spaces

_I like confined spaces._

She entered the room like a dizzy flamingo, moving from one friend to the other, sharing her exciting news about being in the closet.

“I was in the closet!”  she tells one friend.

“I like confined spaces!”she whispers excitedly to another.

Yes, she was in fact in the book closet recording her argument writing as a podcast.  My goal was a quiet place that would allow only her voice to be heard, but the closet served as more than just a quality recording booth.  It also provided her with an experience she wants to remember forever and an overheard quote that led me to today’s slice of life.  Not to mention – this narrated video of her experience!  A-mazing!!

♥♥♥♥♥

I have a very special, talented group of kids this year and I love each and every one of them.  You can read their argument podcasts here.  Special thank yous are required to two of them today:

Thank you to ThisDoesExists  (aka my dizzy flamingo) for her story, video, and enthusiasm for confined spaces!

AND

Thank you to BabyKate9 for her “dizzy flamingo” simile!

 

 

SOL #4 – #proudteacher

I had a different plan.Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 8.51.34 PM.png

I had written a throwback slice

in my notebook earlier in the day.

I opened my computer

to the ding of emails.

But not just any emails!

Emails that tell me my students are slicing

and leaving their permalinks

on our class blog!

On the weekend!

#proudteacher  #timetoreadandcomment

5B Blogs!

 

Text to Speech in Writing Workshop

In a 1:1 district, where every kid has a device, technology is always present and used every Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 11.46.47 AMday.  However, sometimes looking for all of the newest ways to integrate technology causes you not see the most obvious ones.  This is how I felt when I read the chapter in Use Your Words about Technology Tools. Specifically, the section about “Text to Speech.”

My students have used “Text to Speech” before – to listen to text that is beyond their independent reading level, especially for research.   However, Deveny says that she uses it daily in order to listen to her writing.  Not in place of reading your text aloud, but in addition to what we ask the kids to do – you know the thing you are constantly reminding them of during conferring, but they never actually do?

Deveny suggests using the “Text to Speech” that is already part of your device to listen to your writing and revise/edit.  Of course!   This will be huge in writing workshop this year!  It will become part of my writing checklist and I have a feeling kids will enjoy it (especially because you can change the accent of the voice), so they will actually use it!

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Just one of the many insights I have gained from this book, useful in my writing life and in my writing workshop for my students.

 

Evaluate and Judge

“the ability to evaluate and judge is not a school skill, it is a life skill.”

– Kelly Gallagher

I’m working through the different real world writing purposes in Write Like This.  In the chapter on Evaluate and Judge, Gallagher gives many examples of evaluation in life:  print ads, YouTube videos, commercials, websites, and presidential candidates.

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Express and Reflect √

Inform and Explain √

Evaluate and Judge – ↓

Inquire and Explore √

Analyze and Interpret√

Take a Stand/Propose a Solution√

Gallagher states in this book, and repeats, “it is valuable for students to watch their teacher produce a crummy first draft; it gives them an honest look at how writing is produced.  In fact, modeling on days when I don’t write very well may actually be more valuable than modeling on a day when my writing is flowing.”  Therefore, I will continue to share my writing for each of these purposes, even though these first drafts aren’t spectacular writing.

With the upcoming election, this year will be a great opportunity to teach students how to evaluate and judge candidates.  And then hopefully these skills will transfer to literature as well.  So,  today I am going to Evaluate and Judge a YouTube video – kids (including my own) do spend a lot of time there.

I found this series by Kid President:  Awesome Girls!  And I thought it was the perfect thing to write about.  Especially after the amazing essay by Jennifer Aniston.  Here are the links.  You need to watch them!

Kid President Talks to A Girl: Rachel Platten! #AwesomeGirls

The purpose of this campaign is to make sure that girls know how amazing they are and to remind everyone that girls should be cheered on.   The audience being twofold:  the girls that need to be encouraged and the people who need to encourage them.

The first video linked above is Kid President introducing the idea of Awesome Girls and explaining his (and his brother’s) purpose for this campaign.  He also asks for help, for people to share examples of awesome girls using the hashtag #KPAwesomegirls.

In the second video, Kid President shares his struggle being a boy and doing this campaign about girls.  There are two videos of Robby (KP) juxtaposed, one being the inner voice supporting girls, and the other being a “typical boy” inner voice.  He asks, “What about awesome boys?”  And then he explains to himself that supporting girls isn’t saying that he doesn’t support boys, it is just that girls don’t have all of the opportunities that boys have.  (Sound familiar to something else that has been all over the news?)  The two “voices” side by side is very effective in bringing up counterarguments in order to argue against them.  Way to go KP team!

The final video linked above, is Kid President talking to Rachel Platten.  She encourages him to not feel awkward against girls and gives great advice to girls across the world.  This one is a great message from a successful girl and would be even more focused on a female audience.  She tells KP that as a young girl she was very hard on herself and never felt like enough.  Which one of us haven’t felt that way?  It is so important for kids to hear they are not alone in the way they are feeling.

And the video concludes with Rachel Platten finishing the sentence that KP always asks, “The world would be a better place if…”

“…if we understood how similar we are to each other.  […] if we were all a little kinder to each other.  […]”

Awesome Girls!

#btbc16

If Michelle were a character in a Western film, she would be…

I am continuing to draft writing for each of these real life writing purposes according to Kelly Gallagher in Write Like This:

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Express and Reflect √

Inform and Explain √

Evaluate and Judge

Inquire and Explore √

Analyze and Interpret – ↓

Take a Stand/Propose a Solution

Apparently iMAgiNiff is a board game that I missed out on as a child.  It is also an inspiration for an activity in the Analyze and Interpret chapter.  This one seems like lots of fun and would be great analyzing practice as a Morning Meeting activity with my new fifth graders.  It could also be used to reflect on characters in books.

Pose a question for students to answer, explaining their reasoning.  For example: “Imagine if _________ were a character in a Western film.  Which would he be?  a)  Sheriff  b)  Outlaw c)  Deputy  d)  Farmer  e) Stagecoach Driver  f) Barkeep”

Since Michelle is hosting the Big Time Blogging Challenge this month, and that is why I have been writing every day, I am going to use her.  Thanks Michelle!

If Michelle were a character in a Western film, she would be the barkeep.

Michelle is a social butterfly and can talk to anyone. She can serve people their selected beverage and make them feel at home.  This is similar to what she does as a literacy coach, she has to develop relationships and make teachers comfortable with her.  She knows when to help and provide support.  She knows exactly when to hold back.

Everyone tells their secrets to the bartender.  People can spill their guts to her and she can keep a neutral expression, not always needing to give an opinion.  Let me tell you, co-plans can be tense!  But, I have heard more than one teacher say that Michelle knows how to stay cool and not take sides.

Finally, when push comes to shove, Michelle is capable of putting people in their place!  Chairs fly, glasses break.   Someone has to put an end to it…

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Virtual Vision Board

 

 

Troy is the most amazing child I have ever met.   I realize that I am biased, but he is special.  I need to remember that regardless of all of the mistakes I have made and will continue to make, he is a good kid.  I want to continue to encourage him to be himself: that creative, unique boy, mismatched socks and all.

A Library!  I want a library in my house!  It needs to have lots of high shelves, filled with books.  And a ladder!  A sliding ladder!  I will have one of these one day!

“I love crazy!”  Do you know where this is from? Frozen.   Toward the end of the school year my co-teacher and I were listening to Disney Pandora when I heard this line.  Immediately I said, “That is what I we need! Well…we each need separate guys that like our kind of crazy.”  (or something like that) And so, I will settle for nothing less than someone who loves my kind of crazy!

OPEN is my One Little Word for 2016.  If you don’t know about this idea, I would suggest looking into it.   It has honestly changed me much more than any resolution I have ever made.

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If you are a teacher, you know why this is part of my virtual vision board.  Standing up for what you think is best for the kids isn’t easy, but I can’t stop questioning.

“Be Someone’s Crazy Aunt!”  I think I’ve got this one covered and, coincidentally, I just got confirmation this weekend.  I was at my grandparents house and so was my sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews.  I got up to get something to drink from inside and my four year old nephew took my seat.  So, of course I made a big deal of it, sat next to the chair, and stuck my feet (my bare, stinky, dirty feet) in his face.  He looked at me and said, “You’re weird!”  SCORE!

Use Your Words:  I just finished this book yesterday and it has been so motivational and though provoking.  It is a symbol to keep writing, make time for it.  More posts about this are in progress!

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

“Keep on believing.”

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