Staff meeting. Interesting. I sat down and the two colleagues at the table found reason to move elsewhere. I kept my head down in the Austin Kleon book I was reading and busied myself by taking out my wheel book.
Then our librarian, Sally Helm, sat down by me. I didn’t expect her to be staying for the meeting, but figured she had some quick announcement for the staff. I pulled out my Joy of Cooking chocolate chip drop cookies [hold the extra tablespoon of flour, thank you very much] and, after pulling out a couple for Mr. Taylor, plopped them between us. I shot her a glance and a smile, then nodded toward the cookies. She dove in.
A few minutes later, we both eyed the last cookie. I nudged it toward her. She chuckled and, with her notebook, slid it back toward me. Kate Smalley leaned forward and hissed [that’s really the only word that fits here], “Would one of you two eat it?” I scooped up the cookie and napkin and underhanded it to her table.
Was happy Mrs. Nix hadn’t shown up yet. It would have been just like her to pull the ol’ “And Ms. Page, did you bring enough for everybody?’ line.
After the meeting ended, it hit me. Shirley was not on the meeting agenda, but there she still was.
“Did you sit here just for the cookies?” I asked her.
“I can’t think of a better reason,” she said.
But it hit me…when she sat by me, there was no hint of chocolate chip drop cookies.
A highlight of my day, that lady was.
Added a new twist to journal time. We go around the room and ask for a favorite sentence they wrote during that session. Kids can pass on the opportunity, but most are anxious to share. Unfortunately, after one annoying incident, I had to add—and require them to copy down—the following guideline:
If I include a living, breathing person in my selected sentence, it must be in a positive way. If it might be embarrassing to that person, I will not read it to the class.
Thanks, Mrs. Nix, for spurring me to continue to give kids choices in what they want to read.
Seems that the more you insist on the value of what some offshore publisher recommends for my kids, well, that just doesn’t wash with me.
But, to appease leadership, for ten minutes a day, we’ll open the book about tarantulas and the scientists who study them. We’ll break down a page of text for any possible value—vocabulary, favorite phrases, valuable information— and then move on to our other language arts resources, such as, ‘ourselves as writers, ‘ourselves as readers’ and the materials we value. We’ve had some very interesting discussions centered around ‘What I’m reading’ and ‘What I’m writing’.
“To me, that’s the best kind of rule to break—an established pattern that does nobody any good.”
Caught this in a book on innovation.
Seems to be my rule of thumb lately.
Below are four more photo prompts I just added to my
Sail the Seven C’s Teacher Expo…
Suggestions for teachers:
1. Let writers team up to author a story.
2. Give writers a separate assessment for their prewriting efforts.
3. Challenge writers to add:
a real person as a character [celebrity? family member? another teacher on staff?]
a heroic action
I’ve added freely downloadable friendship posters to my Sail the Seven C’s Teacher Expo .
** Here is a short tour of the Expo and its current collection of resources. [More are being added every week.]
A couple of ways to use these files…
Project onto the whiteboard, but block out key words or a phrase, such as, in the example below, ‘self-doubt’. Let your students fill in the blank.
Pose the question, “Which one of these reminds you of one of your friends?”
Use one as a theme/’behavior guide’ for an upcoming week.