Okay, again, slight exaggeration.
But when I started viewing this school year through a different lens, I asked myself what else I wanted to do differently, what else I wanted to see happen in the classroom.
First answer: Writing.
I want my kids to write more. And I’m rarely going to narrow them down to what the teachers edition or, lord help me, scope and sequence dictates. Writers don’t think that way, if you ask me.
And so there we were on Day 1 and writing–even before the classroom redecoration, in fact. [My thinking: If we’d redecorated first, that would have been too easy a topic for them to reach for. I wanted to see how they responded to a few writing prompts or some self-selected subject.]
And yes I kind of blew them out of the water because a fresh new notebook [all of 18 cents apiece] sat on each student desk and we were writing before we even started the school day–school year, actually. I did give them a pep talk about writing, that it would be more difficult for some than others, that writing was like a muscle–that it needed daily exercise and practice.
But here’s the catch:
*I* have to write as well. I hadn’t quite thought that through. Of course, I figured I would do a few journal jottings, but nope, all the good books tell me that I have to be the model for the students. In the case of Day 1, I treated the front whiteboard as my personal journal to illustrate how a writer’s mind can wander and, during Room 36 journal time, that is just fine.
I also suggested that they sketch out a cartoon-type character, someone with whom they can converse on paper. More on that later.
It would be tempting for me to skate a bit on the writing…but there is one set of eyes fixed on me. Beth. Beth Carson.
She lets nothing get by her. No change from last year, in other words.