Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reading: Digging Deeper

In February, I saw Debbie Miller and Lucy Calkins and they discussed the importance of going deeper in reading.  It isn't just teaching reading strategy. It is about applying the strategy and using it on the age appropriate level or standard of the classroom.  My students have loved the Among the Hidden series.  We've read the first two books and I knew that I wanted to really teach going deeper in reading responses the last 5 weeks of school.  So I decided to use the third book in the series.  We began the book last week and I had the kids write a response with no extra instruction.  Then today I used their responses to show exemplary work at what making good connections should look like and sound like, what a good question should look like, and what an meaningful inference looks like and sounds like. Then we read three more chapters of the book and wrote responses again.  During their silent reading time I graded their responses. The difference was AMAZING!!   As I was reading them I began to star the pieces that were exemplary and we had a sharing circle.  As they shared our question to the circle was, "Explain how this response is well thought out."  The answer:  It makes me think more about the text!


We really truly  have thinkers in our classrooms, however, it is up to us to raise the standard and expectation.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Slice of Life Tuesdays

How I've missed my time on the blog reading everyone's slices and stopping to ask myself, "Will I document this part of me today?"

Poetry is one of my favorite units of the year. As we wrap up our final week of test prep, I've begun to really allow the creativity to shine. We have been looking at the many different forms of poetry and today we focused on Haiku. After listening to a haiku in  my Community Class in Church on Sunday inspired by Psalms I decided we too would go looking for things to inspire our Haikus. I've often read Haiku Hike and allowed the kids to make watercolors then write the poetry, but today we went outside.  Granted it was not within a forest, but I really wanted them to notice their senses and the things around them.

As we looked upon the empty playground I said, "You know things look so different without 175 students running around.  What is this picture saying to you?"  Really I am talking rhetorically more to myself then to anyone in particular because of what it was saying to me, but a young man turned to me and said, "I imagine the Wild West, but without gun slingers."

"True, I believe a different competition is played somewhat like outlaws and the sherriff,"

His eyes light up!  "Can you imagine soccer in tumbleweeds?!"  He exclaims. Then he vigorously writes.

Isn't it important to listen to those little nudges of inspiration?


Write because it's good for you!!  Join us every Tuesday at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek.
Mario Andretti

To the teachers who are wrapping up the last 5 days before state mandated testing begins.  Excellence is seen in each of you every day.

Friday, April 1, 2011

10 Reasons I Should Write Each Day

10.  Writing each day allows me to try different types of genres.
9.  Writing each day allows for experimentation with words.
8.  Writing each day led me to conversations about my writing and others writing.
7. Writing each day provided me to look each day in the face and ask, "Will I document this today?"
6.  Writing each day stretched me as a writer.
5. Writing each day was easy on some days.
4. Writing each day was hard on some days.
3. Writing each day led to discovering truths about myself.
2.  Writing each day led to discovering more about others.
1. Writing each day became more about getting parts of me on a page and less about writing each day.