Wednesday, March 3, 2010

That Workshop Book - Reflection #4

I appreciate coursework that includes meaningful thinking. This is part of my series of reflections for my course through The Literacy Connection in preparation for our upcoming visit with Samantha Bennett. She is the author of That Workshop Book.

Today as I was teaching, especially during writing workshop I wish I had a crystal ball. What I have found sometimes the most challenging about my switch to teaching kindergarten is not for seeing and predicting what the students will do with what we are doing. I was trying to be more explicit through a mini lesson about our books with many ideas. We discussed having a title and our names on the front, as the author. Then we were looking at one written in black crayon and one written in pencil on blue paper. We realized the print in black was much easier to see so we agreed we should use black and I suggested either a black crayon or sharpie would be best. This is where the crystal ball would of come in handy. You see, once the sharpie was in hand it went to writing the text on the inside and went to the inside for the illustrations. I don't mind them using a sharpie but it bleeds through the paper and they were trying to color with it which isn't the best use for a sharpie. I quickly brought all of us together to think through our sharpie self extensions and set some further parameters.

I was driving home from school today, a bit rushed to get my youngest off the bus and realized something that happened today in our writing workshop, was a catch and release. Samantha talks about, "the rhythm of a fly fisherman. During the minilesson, the teacher (or fisherman) has the students "out of the water." The trick is to throw them back into the river before they stop breathing and die....that is why the word mini before lesson is important." She discusses further how students stamina can sway and as a teacher you can pull them together to help rebuild the stamina. Today I did that with a "how to" of working during writing workshop. I do think without a crystal ball I am learning more about teaching this year and staying on my toes.

1 comment:

  1. OK trying it again. I'm taking more of a personal risk this year by writing with/for my students. We've been exploring and writing poetry. We seemed stagnant so I decided to introduce poems that have a repeating pattern so I began reading them and we discussed what words continued to repeat and how often. I gave them copies to see and add to their poetry notebooks, too. During Rdg Wksh they explored poetry books looking for poems that had repeating patterns -- these were shared and discussed (why would a poet use this form). I next decided I needed to WRITE my own patterned poem. I did this at home as I was planning my move for the next day's lesson. I wish I would have written it in front of them, but - like real writers - had to strick while the iron was hot. I knew I could always share the process when I shared my poem the next day,too. I also modeled how I wrote what I knew and was passionate about -- first graders. They were excited to hear my poem. I gave them copies,too. What smiles . . . when I was reading about them. To wrap up I invited the students to try writing their own repeating pattern poems during or WW time today. During writing time, one little girl, M. came up to show me that she had 3 poems that already had repeating patterns! She wanted to share all of them with the class. At the end of WW, I invited students to share. I was impressed with how many were trying out a new form of poetry. Because I took a risk to write for my students, they were empowered to take a risk too. (Connection: catch & release)