Monday, November 10, 2014

Slice of Life - Mondays

Slice of Life is sponsored on Tuesdays by Two Writing Teachers.

Last Monday was a true Monday. I felt like I was dragging my students – and myself – through the day. I questioned whether they had internalized any of our practices from the first twelve weeks of school.  I braced myself for another Monday today. A Monday after a full moon last week, after being out of the classroom for a day and a half for a sick kiddo, and before a cold weather front moves in? It was bound to be bad… and yet, it was awesome.

There were moments, of course. Moments where kids rushed in to tell me what rule they had broken when our guest teacher (substitute) was in last week. Moments where they told me they hadn’t read or written over the weekend. Moments where they shared with me a disagreement they had on the playground before school. I sat there, as these moments washed over me in the first five minutes of our school day, and began to despair. And then, I realized something big.They rushed in to admit they had done something wrong, to own up to their mistake. They were honest about their homework not getting done, had not made any excuses, but told me so I could deduct a point. They told me about the problem on the playground so they could discuss how they handled it and get advice on what to do next time. Those moments show a lot of growth since that first day, just twelve weeks ago. With that, my Monday began.

It moved on with the introduction of our Mock Caldecott unit. We are doing this unit in corroboration with Margie Myers-Culver’s students in Michigan. This will be our third year in a row, and it is a unit I look forward to all year long. Margie is awesome to work with. You’ve got to love a friend when you both look at your list of twenty, know there are some books you wanted to include, and say, “Let’s just make it 25.” Awesome!

Here’s the twenty-five books we selected:

Today we read our first book from the unit, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. We’ve already shared this title this year, so today we were able to read it critically. This is a crowd favorite in all three of my classes. After sharing the book, the kids added their reactions to a class Padlet so they could see what their classmate’s opinions were. This was the first time I have used Padlet for the whole group at once. Oh my! Twenty-seven kids typing away at the iPads at once? It was a bit crazy.

You might notice when reading some of their reactions that they’ve been influenced by Travis Jonker’s theories as to what happened at the end of the book. The kids loved reading Travis’s post (HERE) and now want to meet him just as much as they want to meet Klassen and Barnett!

Mondays. Some days they make me want to curl up and sleep for another week. Other days they give me a chance to reflect on growth and make me want to teach until I am seventy. Grateful today for one of the latter.