Monday, November 30, 2015

OLW: Reflecting About November

Thanks to Google Images
In past years, I always wrote a blog post on the last day of the month about my OLW which is  reflection.  Some how I lost that plan this year, but as I thought about November over Thanksgiving I realized that my thinking evolved into three areas.

I've been struggling in my classroom.  In a good way if that's possible, yes I think that is possible.  I have questioned every practice in my math block and several of my literacy practices.  It's been a challenging first 12 weeks of school.  Someone should have told me that after teaching 27 years the 28th year doesn't get easier it just gets more confusing.  I understand why there are more challenges. Thoughtful consideration of my learners which includes differentiation, constant reading of blogs and tweets for guidance, and my CL writing family have helped me find a newly navigated course for the first trimester although bumpy I have a course. 

I'm thinking deeply about education, not only in Room 234, beyond our school, our district, and beyond Ohio. Several blog posts have made me stop and reflect (OLW15) and  I haven't wrapped my ideas around some of the blogs or tweets from the past few weeks.  I will say social media has opened my world to amazingly sophisticated and intelligent learners, and I am thankful for my virtual PLN. To be continually challenged is something that I cling too. 

Is there bloggers' guilt? Just like mother's quilt?  I've read so many blog posts in November.  Printed several, shared several, retweeted tons. Yes I'm guilty - taking and not reciprocating.  I feel like I've been on a journey this year, and the road map hasn't been as clear.  It's always interesting how blogging helps me reflect as well as organize my trip.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Power of Choice in Writing - OLW Reflection

W.5.7. Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

Enter Magic School Bus.  Who doesn't love Miss. Frizzle and their far out adventures? After several mini lessons on non fiction text features, I told my class it's time for their first research of the year.  You could have heard a collected sigh from my students. Even, "On no not yet Mrs. Caplin."  I played along for a few moments telling them they would have to research about their favorite president or season.  "Ugh..." to say it politely.  

I then passed out the Magic School Bus books again and asked them if they would like to write their own little book modeled after Magic School Bus. Sighs turned into cheers and then it got even louder when I told them they could choose their own topic and would become a published author, "Who me? Really? How?"  

Some of the topics included:  hockey, Eiffel Tower, monkeys, headphones, pocket watches, music, Empire State Building, remote control cars, and fiber optics. The icing on the cake was reading this page in her book.