Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It Was A Good Day

You know it’s going to be a good day when you tear up three times in the mini-lesson in reading class, right?

So, I shared my letter with my students. (Read it HERE) I wasn’t sure what type of reaction I would get from fifth graders. Mostly it was along the lines of… Wow, that was good. Or… Sorry, I need to read more. Several kids thanked me for thinking of them. I thought that was sweet. For ten-year-olds, I figured it was a good reaction. I hadn’t anticipated tearing up as I read it the first time, I just love this group of kids so much it makes me even more emotional than usual – which is a lot already.

Then today’s lesson I wanted to have the students connect themes of two different shared “texts.” I read Penguin and Pinecone last week. Then yesterday I saw this video about two brothers. I immediately thought of the connecting themes between the two “texts.”

For our lesson I had the students take notes, in any format they chose. (We’ve been learning about note taking in class.) I read aloud our picture book first. We talked about possible themes for the story and evidence that would back them up. Then I played the video. Again the kids took notes on the video, deciding possible themes and evidence of them. (And if you are keeping score, teared up in the book AND the video. 

Finally, the students wrote an essay comparing the Penguin and Connor. Many discussed the similarity of Penguin’s love for the Pinecone and Connor’s love for his brother. How in the face of obstacles their love grew stronger. They were able to use their notes to provide evidence of the themes they had selected.

At the end of the day my reading group table had stacks of reading responses to grade, piles of essays, and my iPad open to Evernote from reading conferences. I would normally feel overwhelmed when I have stacks – items where I am not caught up yet. But not today. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I delivered my letter to the students, and whether they “got it” or not, they clearly got the message that I cared deeply for them. And their insights in their essays showed me that they are doing some deep thinking in reading. Add that to overhearing one of my boys recommending Found, Sent, and then Bomb to others and today was a good day.

And for your enjoyment, his recommendation of Bombyou should read this. Somehow this guy makes history interesting. Feel free to use that if you need to book talk it.

Finally, thanks so much for the amazing feedback in the last few blog posts. You all make a girl feel good!