Saturday, February 18, 2017

Celebrating Being on my Quest

I held onto my OLW - quest for 2017.  I knew that I wasn't finished with the journey that I would be on to as I continue as a student of writing.   I am excited to be celebrating Ruth's writing courses.  She hooked me when I watched her first video and she discussed how overwhelmed she was with grading 100 writing assignments. I've read several different articles about becoming a stronger teacher of writing, and for now,  I have a system that is working for me.  I am quite excited about it because it's manageable which is the key to implementation.

Collaboration:  During our workshop, we discussed what were the key components that everyone focused on while writing their informational essay.  My writers came up with a list of five. Done, simple,  and most importantly easy to assess.

  • strong opening (lead)
  • content specific vocabulary
  • body - flow and stronger sentences
  • choosing important evidence
  • strong closing (wrap it up)

Grading:  I have 26 writers in my class this year, and I read and evaluated 6 a night which I could manage.  I had a goal, and I succeeded. I only graded for the five components and wrote down notes for each writer, so I could gather information to inform next week's instruction.

Grouping:  On the fifth night, I looked for patterns which would be a an important review for mini lessons.  I have read several articles about writing partners, and intentional talk.  

I've had some time to reflect on this process, and I am celebrating my quest for being a stronger teacher as well as implementing several ideas that Ruth has shared with us.  I am anxious to return to school on Tuesday and share the plan for the week with my writers.  Thanks friends for sharing in this week's celebration and continuing on my quest with me.  

This warmed my heart as I read Tara's comment.
I am thankful to have friends like Ruth and Tara to lead
me as a writer. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Celebrate: Yes to Parent Teacher Conferences

I am thankful for a long busy hard week.  That doesn't mean that I am not exhausted and barely made it through yesterday teaching. We just finished parent teacher conferences which are in the evening at my school for two nights from 4:15-9:00 if you're last conference ends on time.  Spring conferences are different for me.  When I speak to the parents, I know their child much better.  I know what their child likes to do in/out of school, their friends, their favorite subjects and areas of growth that we will focus on as we complete the second trimester of fifth grade.  I am celebrating that my parents genuinely were interested in the areas I mentioned above and not test scores.  Test scores are not a dirty word in my vocabulary; however they are a small part of the puzzle.  Nothing makes me happier than when I share celebrations that include:

  • --- is a vivacious reader reading twice as many books this trimester.
  • ---is a stronger mathematician and persevered with long division
  • ---is a growing writer who is writing longer paragraphs with amazing vocabulary
  • ---is a historian who loved our European Explorer unit
  • ---is a wordsmith and collected 28 idioms in her word notebook
  • ---is a friend who is willing to help all students when they struggle with learning
  • ---is a hugger and everyday before she enters the room I get a good morning hug
This week I'm celebrating parents who support teachers and appreciate our hard work. I am thankful that I had a busy, tiring week, and I am anxious to read other celebrations.  Oh yea, and take a nap too.