Thursday, December 7, 2017

conferring matters

Now that we've finished our Literary Essay unit in Writing Workshop, we're back in a reading unit, so our writing toggles back to blogging. This week, kiddos are writing a post inspired by the word PERFECT. (Thank you #TeachWrite and #DWHabit for the idea!)

After the explanation and my example, kids got to work. Some students had a topic easily and went to writing, others needed some tools to get started. I helped those kiddos out, then another student walked up to me and asked how long it had to be.

"As long as you need to make your point. Did you read mine? You need enough writing some your ideas are clear."

"Yes," he replied, "but mine is different." I asked him to go get his iPad so he could read it to me.

He came back, sat down at our conferring space, and read his writing to me while I followed along on the screen. It was really good! He basically wrote about how perfect is a fraud, because nothing is perfect, and how everything has a flaw. When he finished I told him that I really liked his ideas and that I thought it was great. Then I asked if he wanted coaching to make it better.

"You mean on the punctuation, right?"

"No, not at all!" I said. "My idea is more in the elaboration of your points. I was thinking that if you are saying nothing is perfect, and that there is a flaw with everything, a good writing strategy would be to show, and not tell. So what I would do if I were you is think of an example."

I was then thinking aloud to him. "Think of your perfect friend, and list three traits." Then I began to write in the air... "Katie is the perfect friend because she is fun, and we both like to write and teach so we talk about that stuff, and also because her jokes are funny." Then I went back to coaching... "But then, say her flaw too, to make your point." and I went back to writing in the air again. "But here's the thing, Katie lives in Phoenix, so far from me. So can I say she's the perfect friend, if there is a flaw? Wouldn't the perfect friend live in your zip code? This is what I mean about perfect. It's a fraud."

I continued, "What do you think of my tip, you know, to give an example to show  your point? Do you think you can do that?"

He smiled, nodded, and said yes. "Off you go then, try it out!"

He went back to his seat and then the class preceded on as normal, until it ended, and everyone had left. Except one of my other kiddos who needed a heart-to-heart. But my writer was still there, too. My heart-to-heart kiddo shouts at him, in a lovingly, middle-school-way, "Come on, why are you even still here?"

With a smile he shows the screen of his iPad to us, and says, "Because I want to show Ms. Brezek my blog."
My heart about exploded.

You guys! Conferring matters - yes, it matters because you help kids make their writing better, but even more so, it matters because you create a space for kids to be heard. They sit in front of you, gather all their courage, and read their writing to you. Their writing is their heart. And they put it out there for us to read and critique.

And so when they have positive experiences and they grow, they want to revel in that glow.

And we must create the space needed to let them.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

the perfect teaching neighbor

This week students will write blog posts inspired by the word perfect. Here's what that might look like!

There are many ways you could describe the perfect teaching neighbor...





You've met my perfect teaching neighbor - Ms. Belkov. She's all those things I mentioned above!

She's musical. Ms. Belkov sings lots of songs, like "I've had the time of my life" from Dirty Dancing. Or a song about Taco Tuesday. Or old school hip hop from the 90's that is now on 104.3.

She's silly, too. She does funny things to make you laugh, like singing in the middle school hallway with a purple stuffed mic. Or telling jokes at team meetings that make you laugh so hard you fall off your chair.

She's also hardcore. What I mean by this is that she expects a lot. If she assigns some work, you better complete it, and complete it well. You better not be rude to her, because then she will have to show you how to talk respectfully. Another thing she's hard core about? Feeling good by exercising. She wakes up SUPER early some mornings and goes to the gym. She means business about her stuff!

She's engaging. You guys, she acts things out. If I were a kid, I'd want to be in her eighth grade class. (I'm an adult and I want to be in it!) Her face lights up a room with her smile, she sings and tells jokes and dances around. All of these things are engaging about being in her presence.

But the thing that makes Ms. Belkov the perfect teaching neighbor? Well, it's that she is my friend. She helps me understand things when I'm confused, she lets me cry when I'm sad, she gives me advice when I get in a fight with my mom or sister, she teaches me yoga, and she inspires me with her work ethic. Friends do all this and more, and she's that person for me.

There's no one I'd rather have a classroom next to.
Ms. Belkov is the perfect neighbor.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...