This blog is a place to ruminate on the problems of teaching. If I am thinking thoughtfully, my posts will hopefully raise more questions than answers. By problematizing teaching we reflect on those questions that are constantly behind, in front, and at center of everything we do in the classroom. Feel free to comment. I'd love to hear what other teachers are thinking about on these and other issues.
Subscribe to this blog
Follow by Email
Search This Blog
A Sampling of Student's Slice of Life Stories
Yesterday I blogged about how students were resisting the Slice of Life Story Challenge this month. Today, after a full day at the #innovategraded conference in Sao Paulo, I opened up their Google docs and discovered a treasure trove of amazing slices. Please respond in the comments. I know my students would really appreciate that!
Slice #1 - Go eat dinner
“Wendy, dinner is
ready!” Mom yelled out.
“OK. I’m coming, just one
little piece to work.”
I don’t want to miss the thing.
“Well, be faster.” Then, she turned to do her “job”.
I finished, but I don’t want to move my poor body anymore. I’m like a snail
moving so slowly. My legs are like full of the iron so I couldn't move it, but
still I get into the dining room and get ready to have my dinner.
Slice # 2 - Selling and Buying
dad and I were eating dinner when suddenly he proposes that our family sells
our house in Houston and buy a different one. I said, “OK...How about we get
the new house in California?” Then, my mom replied, “Yes! But, not L.A. How
about San Diego?“ “Ooh, or maybe San Francisco!” I replied. But in the end my
dad said, “I think we’ll just keep it in Texas.”
Today we went to a school called
Einstein for an orchestra practice. The orchestra rode on a loud bus until
finally we got there and tried to play the song we have been practicing for
weeks. It’s a crazy mash up of different songs like Bullfight.
I got ready to play. I took a deep breath and looked over at S, the only other cello player. One, two, three. One two, three. I tapped my foot along with my mental counting. After all I was just practicing. "NOW!" I thought. My bow made a soft movement on the string. SNAP! Went my string. Well, it wasn'tthe first time.
Life is like basketball you pass by people and
also people hurt you. I like basketball because it helps me take out stress. I
get in the zone and forget the world around me like I’m somewhere else. Like
also the feeling of the ball brushing my fingertips and I dribble. I like the
wind blowing in my hair.
“For the first 20
minutes you’ll do independent reading,” the substitute for our absent teacher
said. “And then we’ll go down to the computer lab to do you reading MAP
testing.” The whole class gasped. We weren't notified of this test. Several
MAP testing is a test all middle school students do at
the beginning and middle of the year. There were two tests - math and reading. I
liked the math one better because it was just easier for me.
When it was time for the test, I focused really hard and
blocked out the sounds of chairs squeaking. I started to get a rhythm in my
mind: to read the passage, look at the answers, and click on an answer. Read,
look, click….Read, look, click….
Finally I was done, and I have to say
that I was pretty impressed and pleased about my score. It was above average. I
clicked done and enjoyed the last few minutes of class reading The Maze Runner. Slice #6
I bounced on the seat as
the car drove. My music was bursting in my ears, but that’s how I liked it. As
I was looking through my phone to pick a new song, because I didn't want to
listen to another Fall Out Boy song, I noticed I had three unread text
messages. Then I saw the people who sent them. All people from New Jersey. "Wow," I thought. "I haven’t texted these people in a long time. Might as well
text them." I responded to all three people and then decided to also text
three more. I turned off my phone and sat listening to my music, Sarcasm by Get
Scared. After a while someone responded. It was Mary Louise, one of the people
who didn't text me first.
“Hey,” she replied.
“How life in NJ?” I
conversation started boring it became more interesting. Then someone else
responded, Sasha. Sasha was one of my closest friends in New Jersey. She was
the first friend I made when I moved to New Jersey.
“HIIIII” she replied.
“Dude it’s March 3rd.
I’m coming March 27th,” I answered excitedly.
kept talking we came to new topics and discussed many different things. I was
so happy to be able to talk with my old friends. Slice #7
Today I was going outside of Ms.
Milla`s class and I found Pardo playing el burrito. I said, “Pardo, let's play." “Yes,” he screamed happily. Then, we were passing the ball until they threw it right into my nose. Plack!!!!!! It sounded. I heard people laughing.
Hahahaha, it doesn't hurt a lot. Then, Mr. Muenker said, “David, I think you
should`t stop it like that," and I hear more laughter.
Slice #8 - The Accident
I was running. My eye was on the ball. I could see how it went up in the sky. I jumped to get it, but I didn't feel the ball hitting my head. I felt as if a rock had collapsed in
the right side of my forehead. “I feel bad coach,” I said. He looked impressed.
“We need to go to the nurse,” he exclaimed. Then, when I looked in the mirror I
saw two big balls on my forehead. Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life, March Classroom Challenge, Day #4
The strategy lessons highlighted in Chapter 12, Supporting Students’ Conversations –
Speaking, Listening, and Deepening Comprehension, in The Reading
Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo are critical to students’ engagement and comprehension, as well as their ability to write literary essays, or even book reviews, summaries and
reflective pieces about books. If students aren’t able to talk about books in a way that is invigorating and joyful, they
will be less likely to develop an interest in growing ideas for writing about books. In
her introduction to this chapter, Jennifer Serravallo, reminds us that when
conversations go well, children are inspired by what they read and are motivated to keep reading. However,
when conversations fall flat, then kids get bored and tune out. How do we avoid
this situation and teach kids to have focused conversations about books? The answer is easy: teach kids strategies to help them develop effective conversational skills.
I can't get used to saying goodbye to my daughters even though we've been doing it for the past 10 years. You'd think it gets easier, but it doesn't. It still feels like the first time.
Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.They come through you but not from you,And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.* At the airport, I watch families with their young children and try to remember what it was like when my girls were little. What I felt like. What I was doing at the time. What we weren't doing. Was I even aware of the passage of time?
When my kids were little I lived so much in the moment that there was no time to reflect on the fact that our time as a family was measured. Sooner than we were ready, we would have to let them go. Send them on their way. Wish them an abundance of everything, but especially of love, health and joy. They come through you, but not from you.* I nod and smile, a li…
I'm a hoarder.
There, I've said it.
I try to deny that I'm a hoarder but it comes back to haunt me every time I move houses, or pack up my classroom at the end of the school year.
I have old articles, lesson plans, handouts, folders brimming with teaching ideas, past issues of profesional journals. I hardly throw anything out though I've learned to be more selective over the years. My one rule of thumb, and I really try to stick to this, is that if I haven't used or referred to something in a year, then it's time to toss it into the recycle bin. One exception to this rule (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) is past issues of journals from professional organizations. However, with the ability to locate articles online through my professional memberships, even this exception is becoming less and less useful, which brings me to the topic of this blog post.
I am currently reading a copy of The Reading Teacher from 2010. I've clipped a couple of informat…