Monday, March 2, 2009

Back in the Swing of Things

I can't believe it's been a month since I posted. The flu is fun!

Writing workshop is continuing to go fabulously. Sheryl is doing mini lessons now and she's "rocking" them! It's exciting to see another teacher excited about doing ww and taking risks! All the Lucy Calkins materials have arrived too.

Here are the latest thoughts:
1. Sheryl and I want to do an expert list. Ask the kids what they're experts at so other kids in the class can use them for references.
2. For a rotation tomorrow, we're going to ask students to bring their writing folders and share words they tried to spelled fearlessly. We'll add kid spelling/conventional spellings to our "I'm Not Scared of My Words" poster. This is a Katie Wood Ray idea and I think it really encourages kids to "go for" their spelling.
3. Last week I did a mini lesson that included a list of writing ideas. Later, in the car, A. mentioned that I took all her ideas...making an assumption that only one person could write about an idea. We clarified that in a mini lesson today. No one owns certain ideas. All of us can write ideas that we choose, especially since we all have different perspectives about experiences etc. This led to a discussion about idea gathering. We'll revisit this, but we quickly discussed ways to find ideas: a. sit and think b. reflect back on things you did the last few days c. talk to a friend d. ask a friend to read their piece to you e. read books in the class etc.
4. Sheryl and I are noticing that kids really want more time to share. It's so hard to say NO to them. We are also noticing that their folders are very full. Tomorrow, we're going to discuss organizing folders (left side for pieces in progress and right side for completed projects) and long term projects. We aren't going to write, but organize. Then, we'll ask kids to pick one piece to share and we'll have an extended share time. I love that we can be flexible when the need arises in the workshop.
5. G. made a list of his favorite books today. During our conference, I told him he'd branched out to a different genre of writing (list writing which is discussed in an upcoming mini lesson). Wow. I shared his writing during end of workshop meeting, telling kids that just like there are different sports, there are also different genres of writing.
6. I had a very difficult conference with J. today. His folder is a total mess. He was disruptive during writing time. I couldn't get him to focus on anything. He was drawing people/flowers on a page and wrote the word "you." He wanted to write "people." I asked him to tell me what he was planning on doing. He was defiant. Wouldn't talk. I suggested that writers envision their ideas in their head first. Then, they write. Asked again, "What's your idea?" I couldn't get anywhere. Had to keep taking things out of his hands. Finally, needed to move on and said he could come get me if he wanted to talk about an idea. I felt conflicted about leaving him...but also needed to get along to other writers. Help!
6.5 Several kids are ready to do booklets so they can include all the details they are able to articulate verbally now. I did two conferences today about using more than two pages since that small space can't possibly hold all the details for their big ideas. We got extra pages and I had the kids tell the stories aloud. We planned where each detail would go.
7. Beth has a great recording form for conferring. She uses one form per student so the progression of work/conference notes is all in one place. I want to talk to Sheryl about doing this when we start the next unit.
8. We should be done with this unit of study by the end of March, culminating with a celebration. The pace seems good to me. What would it be like if we were doing ww more than two days a week?
9. Our collaborative inquiry group meets next week to discuss Katie Wood Ray's ww book. Looking forward to that.

More tomorrow - Lorrie

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