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Showing posts from January, 2012

Character Traits

About a year ago, maybe more, I read The Complete Four by Pam Allyn.  See it here http://amzn.to/zpRRWl  I appreciated the concept of integrating reading and writing lessons so that what you do in reading workshop directly impacts what you do in writing workshop.  Here's what the authors say about "the complete year":  "Organized around the Complete 4 components (Process, Genre, Strategy and Conventions) and four unit stages (Immersion, Identification, Guided Practice, and Commitment), each book in the Complete Year series features a year's worth of integrated reading and writing curriculum.Because we honor your professional decision-making, you will find the Complete Year provides a flexible framework, easily adapted to your state standards and to the needs and goals of your community, your students, and your teaching style."  I particularly like the last sentence of the above description of the "complete year", and that is why I've put the q…

Writers' Notebooks and More

As I walked around the room during writing workshop, I noticed most of the children had no sense of what they were writing about and why they were writing about that topic.  In fact, many of them seemed aimless in their writing with little energy and interest to write.  Instead, they were drawing or cutting or coloring.  Had this been going on for a while and I hadn't noticed?  Was this due to the fact that we'd had to adjust our schedule over the last couple of weeks and we'd missed our regular writing time?  Was it because I had not spent enough time, including occasional revisits, on how to find and choose good writing topics?  Were had I been that I hadn't noticed what was happening in the classroom?

So, right then and there I decided to pull out the extra set of notebooks on the shelf and institute writers notebooks in my grade 2 classroom.

I called the children to the carpet and told them what I had observed.  I did a quick introduction - maybe not the best way…

Writing from My Soul

First, let me say that publishing one's writing can be a soul changing experience that exposes the writer to harsh criticism and/or lavish praise. At least, that is how it is for me as a writer.  Whether you are a teacher blogger or a contemporary novel writer, the act of going public is about bearing your soul to others. Writing in a public way such as this makes you vulnerable.  
But there's a lot to be said for not going public, and just writing for yourself.  The kind of writing I'm referring to here is the kind most often found in journals.  Although I've always kept a journal of one kind or another, I'm rediscovering this kind of cathartic writing to help see me through difficult personal and professional situations.  You could say it has become my main morning ritual.  It cleanses my soul and allows me to go deeper than I might when I publish a post; the private writing is just for me and I can say anything I want to without feeling judged.  
So, thanks to St…

A Slice of Life Story: Wishin' and Hopin', A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb

I normally only write about teaching related issues on this blog.  But, I've decided to make some changes in the New Year.  One change I am making is to start posting book reviews, or posts prompted by books I'm reading, that are in some way connected to teaching, learning, schooling, or education in general.  I aim to broaden the scope of my blog so that I don't find myself frantically searching for a topic to post about every week; this has stopped me from posting on a regular basis.  The purpose of making this change isn't to proliferate my blog with trivial posts, but rather to allow myself a broader scope from which to ruminate about learning in the broadest sense of the word.

Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin', A Christmas Story is a great read and not just at Christmas time.  Lamb was able to take a one-time fictitious event - the 1964 Christmas play production by the students at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School - and build a story around it that t…