Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Celebration, Reminder, and a Question

Today was one of those days at school – the days that rock, but you don’t expect it. This year we are having an early out once a month, on a Wednesday, for school improvement. Usually early dismissal days translate to crazier than usual (but just as loveable) kids. Today was the exception to the rule.

We began the day with library checkout. Anytime I can visit our library, and our librarian, I’m a happy person. I can’t think of much more that I’d like to do with my time than wander through the fiction and non-fiction rooms matching books to kids. It’s glorious.

After library we trucked upstairs to our classroom. I introduced my students to Kate Messner’s book basket and book talked all of her books. Then I told them how much I’ve learned from Kate and her book Real Revision – review to follow. I talked to them about how, when I was their age, I thought “revising” meant find any errors: spelling, capitalization, punctuation. We talked about making our papers better. I gave them a checklist and they began the hard work of drafting and revising.

There was a good chunk of uninterrupted time. We listened to our #thewonderofwonder soundtrack, thanks John, as we wrote. My student teacher and I moved around the room, getting the chance to confer with ever writer. I had to smile as a group of boys quietly sang Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful. Awesome. I met with one writer, “K”, who was very unsure of the direction of his paper and was feeling frustrated. We talked about looking for inspiration everywhere, living like a writer. (This will be important later.) 

All too soon it was time for music and then lunch. I ran home at lunch and was surprised to find a box from a friend, Brenda Power. She had come across some small notebooks and thought my students might enjoy them. Um, yes they will! I brought them back in and you would have thought it was Christmas morning!

Then we did a quick rotation, they were off to math and social studies for 40 minutes, and I taught two shortened reading classes. Rushing back in to pack up for an early dismissal, “K” rushed over to me. It seems they had watched some clips from 9/11 in social studies. He looked at me and said, “Do you care if I revise my greatness essay? I watched the videos on 9/11 and you were right, something came to me. I know how I can make it better.” Holy smokes. For a kid that four hours before was doubting himself to a child that was now holding his new notebook from Brenda in his hands with notes he had jotted down during a video – so amazing!

So yes, today rocked. One of those days to treasure in the back of your mind and come back to again and again. And those greatness essays? The ones I took from my ideas on THIS blog post? Such an awesome experience. I had been leery of doing them as my first unit. I know the writing would likely be a higher quality if I had waited. But the information I am learning about this group of kids through the writing of them? Unreal. Love it!

As for the question I have– anyone have experience with Evernote? I’m trying it this year and have a form I usually fill out (paper/ pencil) during conferences. What’s the best way to still use that format but send it to Evernote? Fill it out and take a photo? Fill it out on my computer and upload? Is there a way to create the form to use again and again in Evernote? Any assistance is welcome!

Finally – tomorrow is the last day for my Captain Underpants giveaway. Enter HERE