I Should Not Be Blogging

It’s 7:05 am.  On a Friday.  I’m usually at school by around 7:30 am each day.  Looks like I’ll be a little late today.  Because I wanted to blog this before I forget…or before life gets in the way.

Yesterday afternoon, my classroom was noisy.  Noisier than usual.  I don’t mind a little noise.  I don’t mind a lot of noise, especially if it is warranted.  And yesterday’s noise was.

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If anyone walked into the classroom when the above picture was taken, they might have been surprised by the noise level.  But if they listened to what was being said, they’d understand.  I think.  I hope!  Because they would have heard phrases like, “Waxing gibbous!  I know it’s waxing gibbous!!”  and “No, waning crescent.  Look here!”

As part of our study on the moon, I gave the class what I called a super challenge sheet.  Using written descriptions and a moon phase chart, they had to write the correct phase of the moon.   I told them it was so challenging that they’d have to work in groups, and work they did.  Look under the table above.  Those kids are really working (I watched!).

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One little boy was not daunted when he got a few incorrect on the first try.  He actually said, AFTER I corrected his paper, “I love this!’ and he was bursting with excitement as he ran back to his group to try again.  He got it.  It wasn’t about getting the answers right.  It was about the process, the engagement, the learning.

Yes, sometimes noise does equal learning.

It’s 7:15.  Time to hit the shower and prepare for another day.  Hope it will be as rewarding as yesterday.  It probably will.

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Photo Overload

The purpose of a teacher blog, such as this is, is ostensibly to share ideas and inspire my fellow educators out there in cyber land.  But really, sometimes I just post things so that I’ll remember them when this time rolls around next year.  #sorrynotsorry  The following pics are of several fall boards that now grace our classroom and hallway.

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and to prove that there are actually children who have created the above masterpieces, here were are writing moon facts in our pajamas.  How appropriate.

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Have Chair, Will Travel

This short post will highlight two hacks (there’s that word again – not a very nice-sounding one, but it’s all the rage) that I employ during writing workshop.

The first is – my portable conferencing seat.  True confession:  I’ve always struggled with conferencing in the past, but with the adoption of a new writing program, I promised myself that I’d really focus on it this year.  Rather than calling small groups to the table, I’ve been conferencing with individuals by checking in with them at their desks.  Which requires me to a) crouch down beside their desks, b) sit on the floor while meeting with them or c) drag a classroom chair around.  After trying out all three options, I settled on d) none of the above.  A quick visit to amazon found me a less than $20 Coleman folding camp chair.

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I take it with me from desk to desk, pop it open and voila – instant comfort!  On top of the chair you see my conferencing clipboard.  It opens to a storage area where I keep extra copies of my forms.  When writing workshop is over, I fold up my chair and store it till next time.

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Sometimes I amaze myself.  Not very often, but occasionally.

One last item – the magical Flair marker/pen.  I use these almost exclusively for editing during writing and close reading during guided reading group (wanna keep the allure going for as long as possible).

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Their smooth writing style and array of color choices provide that tiny but important thrill that keeps the kids (and teachers) going.

I think I’ll buy another set this weekend.