Thursday, August 29, 2013

Finding the Positives

Today I sat on the floor. There were a variety of reasons for my position. I was tired, the room was warm, the floor seemed cooler. The main reason was that I was sitting with a student. Most teachers know this position – hip to hip, side to side. I sat with him, he read about a train at the top of the world. (Hello, Fountas and Pinnell tests.) As he read to me, I felt myself relax.

The first weeks of school are just crazy. I’ve learned over the years to hold on, take a few breaths, and wait it out. Soon enough everything will begin running like clockwork. For now, I wait.

Today I went to school with a specific purpose. I already like these kids, a lot. And I knew I was feeling a bit frazzled. I wasn’t getting through enough of my plans. One group is extremely chatty during writing workshop. I hadn’t had a conference with each of my students yet. Adding this to heat indexes of 98-102 this week in a non air-conditioned room and you might have a sense of where I was coming from. With that in mind, today I chose to focus on what was working with this new group of students. Here’s what I noticed.

They love learning. These kids are excited when we talk about lessons – on any topic. What is reading stamina? They have tons of ideas. Why would students choose to “fake read”? They fall over themselves to share. Favorite authors or books? Forget about it, we’d be here for hours listening.

They are creative. Whether it is drawings, stories, singing, or dancing, they amaze me. Many love video games. I love to talk to them about their favorites. These might be the next designers of those games. Their ideas are incredible!

My homeroom LOVES to write. Last year I was so sad that so many students still weren’t embracing writing and one goal I had this year was to change that. This group doesn’t need that goal. They LOVE writing. My main “chatty” class is my homeroom, especially in writing workshop. Why are they so chatty? Many of them want to collaborate. They are writing stories together. The dialogue is non-stop. I can’t fault them for their amazing ideas, just trying to bring the level down a bit. They beg to write everyday. With the heat we’ve been getting out early, which shortens some writing blocks. I have several that were not happy about that.

They love reading. This makes my heart sing. Kids are flying through books, sharing titles, and sharing favorites. We’ve started our first read aloud, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. I love this time together as we root for Kyle and cheered when he secured a spot at the library lock-in.

So the fact that we haven’t really started blogging, Twitter, conferences, etc. will have to be ok for now. In the past eight days we have began a community. I’ve received enough hugs and pictures to brighten my days for some time to come. And today? Sitting there, listening to a child read about a train that runs on permafrost, I looked up and saw this. Yep, we’re back into the school year and it feels great.