When you walk into my classroom, you might be surprised by all of the chatter that is happening throughout the room. Welcome to Writer’s Workshop!
Following our whole class mini-lesson, I enthusiastically say, “Let’s go be writers!” and students excitedly head off in many different directions, ready to begin writing. Some students are just beginning the writing process, attempting to determine the perfect idea to write about that day. Others are meeting with a peer to share their writing and receive feedback. Still others are awaiting a conference with the teacher, almost ready for publication.
In our classroom, we view writing as a social process. This accounts for the chatter that you hear from students. From discussing an idea to talking about how to spell a word to just talking about an unrelated topic, students are encouraged to talk about their writing. While there are always a few students who prefer a quiet writing time, the majority of students thrive in the noisy writing classroom.
Watching and listening to my students, I love hearing the chatter that happens during Writer’s Workshop. When the time comes, I signal students that it is time to wrap our writing for the day, only to be met with moans and groans. See, my students have come to love Writer’s Workshop, knowing that they have choices in topics and genres and they are able to discuss their writing with others. Together, we have created an environment where students are comfortable with each other, willing to take risks in the writing.
As we take a few minutes to share, we wrap up Writer’s Workshop for the day, knowing that tomorrow, we will have another chance to enjoy the writing time together.
As we head into April, I decided it was time to update my #MustReadin2019 list so far. I was excited to see that I read six books already which puts me on course to read twenty-four books this year. Here are my thoughts on the books I’ve read…
Nine Perfect Strangers was an interesting read about nine people who enter a spa weekend retreat. As each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective, the book held my attention. However, there is an interesting twist near the end that just made things a bit strange for my liking.
A Tangle of Knots is a story of intertwining characters and each chapter is also told from a different character’s perspective. It was interesting to learn about how all of the characters’ stories were related and how they impacted each other. A great read aloud for a middle elementary classroom!
A Spark of Light is a thought provoking read about a hostage situation at an abortion clinic in the south. This one took me awhile to read, most of February. Similar to my other reads, each chapter was written from a different character’s perspective. However, Piccoult added a different element as she had you reading from the end of one day to the beginning of the day. I don’t remember reading a book that took me backwards in time and it had me wanting to read more.
The Hate U Give was a book my sister had been trying to get me to read for awhile now. It wasn’t until after she took me to hear Angie Thomas speak that was I ready to finally pick up the book and read it. Not something I would typically choose, I really enjoyed this book. It gave such an interesting perspective that was unfamiliar to me. Grateful my sister convinced me to step out of my comfort with this one!
This book, Wishtree, as not a part of my original list of books to read this year. But, it kept popping up on my social media feeds and I wanted to see what it was all about. I asked my school librarian if she had a copy, which of course she did and was considering it for our one book one school. I loved this story, told from the perspective of a tree. A story about coming together and understanding that while our past is important, so is welcoming newness into our lives. I can’t wait to see Katherine Applegate speak in a few weeks!
Bob has been sitting on my shelf for a while and I was excited to finally pick it up. This is such a heartwarming story of friendship and memories. Wonderfully written, it left me always wanted to read more to try and figure out exactly what was happening. I will say that I was not a fan of the ending and wanted the book to continue.
And there you have it, my six books I’ve read so far! I am already in the midst of my next book and look forward to updating again soon! Drop me a comment and share what you are reading!
Sophia has been recovering from having her adenoids and tonsils out almost 2 weeks ago. I am happy to report that she is healing well. That being said, the soft diet has been a bit difficult for her. While one would think that eating as many popsicles and bowls of ice cream as you wanted would be the best thing ever, it most definitely was not for Sophia.
So yesterday when Sophia asked for pampakes as she calls her pancakes, I was ready to head to McDonalds. She had eaten these over the weekend and they had been a hit! Instead, she said, “No, I want to make pampakes with you.”
So we began pulling out the ingredients needed for the pampakes. Flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, egg, and butter. And then I went for the bowl, only it wasn’t there. “Sophia, we don’t have our regular bowl. Let me see if I can find something different for us to use.”
I began searching the cabinets and eventually found something that would work. While I was doing this, Sophia began singing a song from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Things May Change. “Things may change and that’s okay. Today we can do things a different way.”
These words hit me hard. She was right. Thank you Daniel Tiger! Just because things weren’t going our way or we didn’t have exactly what we needed, we could make a simple change and all would be well. I needed that reminder from Sophia as I often forget that even though change can be scary, it is okay. I even made her sing the song so I could record it for when I needed a gentle reminder.
Oh, and those pampakes that we made? She only ate one!
Today marks 31 days of writing for the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge. I did it! I have spent the past 31 days crafting stories to share. And here’s a secret…I loved it! I have learned so much about myself.
I have learned that I love to write. I had thought that I just loved to teach writing. But it turns out that I love to write too!
Stories are everywhere! I have always told my students this but I lived it during this month. There were days where I could have written several stories and had a difficult time narrowing it down to just one. I learned to watch the world unfold in front of me and to see the story, no matter how small they may seem.
People read what I write. It feels great to know that people are reading my stories. Yet, at the same time, it is a bit scary too. I am grateful for all of the support of friends, family, and strangers.
So to wrap up the month, I would like to share after reading Dan Yaccarino’s I am Story.
Stories…always around…constantly told. Simple and complex. Happy and sad. Adventurous and boring. Shared and private. Stories are everywhere. We all have them…it’s just a matter of looking at life with a different lens. Stories are not always grand and do not always have a happy ending. Sometimes they don’t really matter to anyone but us. But stories are there. Will you dare to share your story?
Sophia and I walked into the bathroom at the movie theater. She turns and says to me, “I always try before I the movie. I don’t want to miss the movie!”
I agree and then I hear, “Wait for meeeeeeee!!!”
Izzie sprints into the bathroom and stops when she reaches us. Both girls enter their respective stalls. I hold the door for Sophia and attempt to do the same for Izzie. Only she won’t go all the way inside. She is pointing at the toilet.
The dreaded automatic flush.
She comes out of the stall. I say, “Go on in. Put on your big girl pants and go to the bathroom. You can do this.”
She looks at me and begins to cry. I absolutely cannot believe that she is in tears because she is afraid of the automatic flush.
So, instead of going in on her own, we wait until Sophia is finished. We go into the stall where I am told to cover the flusher so that it doesn’t go off without her knowing.
Ahh…trips to the bathroom with my girls are never dull.
As Spring Break nears its end, I began to reflect on what the week has brought. I have scrolled through FaceBook to see numerous people off on trips to warm places. It is also at this point that I usually start to panic about everything that I have not done.
And then I remember this list that Izzie wrote. She asked us for our spring break wishes, things that we would do each day. Mine were exercise, naps, and coloring. Oh, and have fun. Izzie and Sophia filled in the rest.
Items have been added to the list since it was originally created. Each day, Izzie takes a pen and place a checkmark next to the completed item. Let’s just say there are a lot of check marks!
So while we may have just been at home, we have been busy making memories and spending time together. This list helps me to remember not to panic and savor the time I have with my girls.
“I want more Legos,” said Sophia as she watched her sister pull out another Lego set from a stack by the fireplace. With her birthday a couple weeks ago, Izzie had five different sets to build. Sophia had gotten one set as a present for having surgery. She finished it on the second day of recovery.
On the counter were several gift cards to Target. I told Sophia that she had two gift cards that she could use to buy another Lego set. Not to be left out, Izzie also wanted to go shopping. Luckily, she had two gift cards for shopping too.
On the day we were to go shopping, the girls each found their own purse and put their gift cards inside. They carried their purses into Target and were ready to shop.
“Where do you want to go first?” I asked the girls.
“To the toys!” both girls responded.
And so we headed to the toy section. The Lego aisle was up first. Sophia immediately went for the princess Legos. She found a small set and said, “I want this one.”
Until I showed her a larger set that had not one princess, but three princesses, including her favorite, Ariel. She quickly changed her mind.
Izzie, on the other hand, took to wandering the aisles, pointing out items she wanted.
“I want that Lego set,” Izzie told us.
I looked at the price tag and replied, “You don’t have enough money for that one. Keep looking.”
So she continued to wander. “I want a Hatchimal,” Izzie said.
Ugh…I did not want her getting something that she would play with once and then never touch again. Yet, it was her money. I tried to steer her in a different direction. “How about a puzzle? Or a game?” I asked.
Each idea was met with rejection. She continued going up and down the aisles.
Finally, Izzie meandered down the Barbie aisle and that was it. She found two Barbies that were perfect for her, one with rainbow hair and the other with a puppy pet. She was content with her choices and so was I!
We made our way to the checkout lanes and chose a self-checkout lane. Sophia scanned her Lego set and then took out her gift cards to pay. The process was repeated for Izzie. And then we headed out of the store and on our way home.
I was grateful for the chance to have the girls choose their own items and then pay for them. They didn’t complain when something was too expensive. Instead, they moved onto something new. It is my hope that we can continue to help the girls to understand the value of a dollar.