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More Student Slices

More student slices...

Today is my uncle Cole's birthday. He is turning sixteen years old. He is just learning how to drive. I can't wait 'cause he can drive me wherever I want. He can almost drive. When you are 16 you can drive. He can drive me to MacDonald's and Wendy's. I will command him. - Ethan

Yesterday it was my brother's birthday. He turned 19 and we celebrated his birthday at Nick's. - Boris

Yesterday Alexandra gave me a cut by accident. And, today I had a problem at recess: my best friends, Kaitlyn and Michelle, wouldn't let me plan with them. They wanted to play something and I wanted to play the other. And they said, "You can only play with us if you play this." - Taylor

In May I am having a party. I am inviting five boys and five girls. I am having a swimming party. - Alexandra

Today I am finishing my book about penguins. We are almost done. We just need to do the last page. Then, we need to color. Then, we are done. We might share it tomorrow or in two days. There is a new series coming. It is called "Bella Mouse and Polla Penguin". It is about a mouse and a penguin that are friends. It is not too funny but kinda funny. It will come out in April. Me and Reese are working on the series. We are also working on a puffle handbook. - Audree

Do you ever feel like you're getting left out? Well, I did. It was my birthday two years ago. I couldn't go in the kitchen because my unwrapped present was there. I am wondering if anyone else sometimes feels the same way? Bye, for now. - Ruth

On Sunday my family went to a garden show. It was not a show. It was a big craft fair. On Saturday only mom volunteered to help at the big craft fair. She helped at the Welcome Wagon Stall. The next day we all went to the craft fair. We got a flag and candy. - Aarushi

Once I Got Bit by A Spider
Once I was climbing on the rocks in my backyard with bare feet. I didn't know that spiders liked to sleep in the rocks. All of a sudden I felt a pinch on my foot. It was the spider. It had bit my food and I had to go to the Children's Hospital again. When I got there they had put a special medicine on my foot. Then, I went home and I lived happily ever after.
- Paige

Once in my life I have fainted on the bus. It happened when I turned my face red. I fell straight to the ground and Karson tried to get me up but I didn't get up. I stayed on the ground. In about 5 minutes I probably got up and when I did get up, it was my bus stop. It was really freakly being fainted. That was my first time being fainted. It didn't feel good being fainted. I don't know why I turned my face red at that guy. His name was Diego and I don't know why I fainted and fell to the ground. It didn't hurt a bit when I fell to the ground. (To be continued.) - Isaiah

Every day my brother does something mean to me. Sometimes he bites me and scratches me in the face. He does a lot of mean stuff to me. - Rene

One time I was on the bus and my friend Julia wanted to sit with me. So, when the bus started to move...and then a couple of seconds later she spat on her hands and stuck it on the seat. Then, Ryder said he would never sit on that seat again. - Reese
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Mini Lessons

Sometimes, I plan too many teaching points for one lesson. For example, instead of focusing on one strategy that students need in order to become more proficient readers and writers, I try to teach several strategies at the same time. 

Sometimes, I stretch out a teaching point beyond the 10- or 12-minute time limit I've given myself because I worry that my mini lesson wasn't enough or my students won't have understood what I intended to teach. So, sometimes, I beat the lesson to a pulp one too many times, or forget to have the kids practice the lesson before they go off to read or write. (Asking students to practice a lesson after you teach it, with you right there to observe and help guide students through the process, is very effective. Try not to skip this step!)  

Here's an example of a mini lesson that lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted in better learning.

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A Confession

I have a confession to make.

I want to write a book. 
A professional book. 
I think I have a lot to say. 
I think others could benefit from my experience.
After all, I have been an educator for over 30 years.

But, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said before?
What new knowledge could I add to the table?
Who would even bother to read what I have to say?

These are questions borne of fear.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of not being able to complete such a daunting project. 
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Fear that I won't make time.
Fear that I'll run out of time.

But, over the last couple of days, I've gotten some encouraging words of support from the Innovative Teaching Academy - 
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You can do it!Write for yourself.
But the message that is propelling me forward is this one: 
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Today's post is short and sweet because I just got back from a night of playing Bunko with friends. 

I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!