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.