For the month of March , I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.
Through my work as a literacy coach, I have teachers that I meet and collaborate with throughout the week. Usually these meetings are at 7:30 a.m. on a scheduled day of the week. I meet with each teacher or team for 1/2 hour keeping notes of what we are working on. Our school is an UOS of Study school following the work of Lucy Calkins and colleagues in this our first year of full implementation. Most of our meetings are in their classrooms. Some teachers will come with questions, sometimes we plan out what we will work on the next week, sometimes I have a teaching technique or skill I’ve noticed or a suggestion. I keep a journal entry of each meeting to keep me thinking. I am thankful to Tammy Mulligan, Teachers for Teachers, for assisting me in working on offering a menu of ideas during this coaching time. This is still, after years, a work in progress.
Thinking about Writing about Reading: Book Clubs, Literary Essay, & the Narrative Task #sol19
March 16, 2019
The afternoon before they warned me. Be ready! We’re bringing a lot to talk about tomorrow. Maybe we need some extra time. Sure, I say. You know I’ll be here around 7.
Sure enough, around ten after 7, the show up, arms full, already talking to each other. I imagine all the way down from their rooms in the other side of the building, Anxious to see what they are thinking, the papers are quickly spread all over the table. Waiting and listening for the kernel, I take a sip of coffee and open my notebook. This conversation had started the week before. The intersection of historical fiction book clubs, literary essays, and the looming state test tasks have been a hot topic.
Last week, after a free write about the the character trait of Fox in Fox, the students struggled to develop a thesis for Number the Stars and the books in their book clubs. Having some personal theories, I wait for an opening and ask, point to the place where you lost them. There is a pause where these thoughtful teachers consider, then go back and look at their student work. I wait.
Make to the start. What’s the goal? Grow an idea about a character using evidence. Two overall problems emerge: idea is weak or evidence doesn’t strongly support thesis. The students seem to be heavily reliant on retell or prediction. What’s next? Go back. Try again with a familiar text that they completed a lot of character work with in the fall, The Last Kiss by Ralph Fletcher available in the book Marshfield Dreams.
Our final decisions: Limit choice to Complications A Character Has or Lesson Learned Teach Back into the Skill Reexamine Results Have student create a theory chart with evidence across text
They came back with the more notes and ideas the next week. Stay tuned.
Growing an ideaJot Menu