Friday, October 21, 2011

....And, I'm back

OK, kids; slump is over! Here's why:

First, I think I've finally gotten into my groove as an instructor. My last two lessons have been the best I've ever done; I still have a long way to go to where I'd be "happy" with my lessons, but for where I'm at in the learning process I'm doing pretty darn well.

The lessons were Writer's Workshops on supporting with detail, using Lucy Calkins's small moments narrative strategy. The better of the two lessons was yesterday, when we focused on using the five senses to help  stretch the moment and bring it to life for the reader. Those second graders blew me away with the understanding they displayed in their application of skill in writing. I decided to give them a story starter prompt so I could assess their application of the lesson skill instead of their topic selection skills.  It's early in the year, and our classroom is filled with some VERY reluctant writers (who have just this last week become excited about writing), so neither my mentor teacher nor I have really pushed or challenged them on writing choices; we've been mainly focused on comfort with writing a coherent narrative and the writing courtesies of punctuation and capitalization (NOT as simple as you adults reading this think...). Today, though, I saw such eager writers that I decided it was time. When I saw students resting on ideas like "it smelled good" I challenged them to go further and tell me what "good" smells like. Each and everyone of them rose to the challenge and painted rich word pictures to describe the flowers. My favorite was "the one flower looked the prettiest but smelled bad to my nose. It smelled of cinnamon." He revealed to me in our conference that he does. not. like. cinnamon. At all. It was hilarious. I was so proud of my kiddos, and it totally got my mojo back for teaching!
Yeah; I don't get it, either. Cinnamon is awesome. Especially in roll form

It didn't hurt that my mentor teacher was extremely complimentary of my teaching style. I think allowing myself to be goofy and a little weird (y'know, be me) when I'm teaching has really opened the kids up to me. It doesn't hurt that I lovelovelove this group of kids. they have the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever seen and just cannot wait to learn. It really makes it fun to go in and learn with them.

Thanks second graders! You made my week:-)

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