Slice of Life Tuesdays: When There’s Not Enough Time

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Dream School: Have enough time for all my students to read whatever they want, write to publish their own longer works, and travel to the places we study in geography.

“There’s never enough time.” Who said that? Mike Miller? Somebody said it first.

One of the frustrating parts of losing time is that it seems that you once had so much that you slacked off, got lazy. You goofed around and wasted your time. It was fine, because you had enough time – no need to worry because the due date was far in the future. Now, the deadline is looming; now you are in “crunch time.” There’s not enough time left to show your true potential.

If I had more time now, I’d read aloud more books to my students. I never got to read Pax, or share all the new titles that came across my desk this year. There’s a new pile of “To-Be-Reads” at home, too, and a growing list of books I wish I’d purchased. Sharing great titles with students and encouraging a love of reading is the best! But I’m almost out of time.

If I had more time now, I’d help students to publish more of their works. I have a nice pile of fantastic writing from this school year, but some students were not able to revise, edit, and send their work in to publishers. I would have entered more contests, as well. Some of the contest topics seemed amazing! But I’m almost out of time.

If I had all the time in the world, I’d travel around the world. I’d love to climb the steps at Machu Picchu! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could take my students on a field trip to  Canada, or the Dominican Republic, or to Ecuador? I have many places on my bucket list of travel. But alas, I’m not sure I’ll have the time.

As this school year winds down, I wish you all the time you need to achieve your goals.

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Images From Florida

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Slice of Life Tuesday: The 4th Quarter

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Kwame Alexander’s book, The Playbook, is divided into 4 parts — 4 quarters of lessons people should know to be successful in life. It is a fabulous guide for living, rich with quotes and good advice. Today we started the 4th quarter of our school year, and I’m thinking about the lessons I will teach until June.

Our 4th quarter is actually split up into even more parts: spring break, more state testing, and the end-of-year celebrations and field trips. It’s a long quarter — from March 21st until June 8th. It seems like the 4th quarter will take as long to complete as the rest of the year all together!

We have a lot to do in this 4th quarter of school! Time periods in history, such as the Renaissance, in social studies, reading projects with podcasts (hopefully), and writing about literature. We will review character development, plot lines, setting, and theme. We will talk, write, and create.

In the 4th quarter, we will succeed…just like Kwame said!

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Valentine’s Day Dream

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Slice of Life Small LogoI’m looking out the classroom window; the sun is bright overhead.

My head is spinning in dreams; Dreams take over my day.

Daylight, vitamin D. I need this day to be over!

“Over the river and through the woods…” Wait! It’s not Thanksgiving, but it is a holiday.

Holidays are meant for sharing.   valentineweather2017classroom

I’m sharing Valentine’s love with my family from far away.

Away I go…Ah! Back to class!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Slice of Life Tuesday: Analyzing Books for Awards Season

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Slice of Life Small LogoI love awards season! The Golden Globes hooked me on Sunday and reeled me into the bedroom so I could watch and not bother the other family members. I love the gowns, the tuxes, the speeches — all of it. I have a passion for awards. I now want to see all the movies and TV shows, and hear all the music that won those awards. It’s only natural, I think, to want to continue participating in the “buzz” that surrounds awards.

This is the same feeling I have when I read books that are considered for awards. I read list after list, recommendation after recommendation, to find the books that I consider noteworthy. I share books with my classes. I read books aloud, I talk about books, I show my students how books affect my life. That “buzz” is the passion that led me to take some time in class to teach a Mock Caldecott unit this year.  Wow! What an experience!

My students are actively engaged, in learning! Yes, we are meeting the standards. I can prove it: 6.RL.2.1 (Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what a text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text); 6.RN.2.3 (Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text); 6.RL.2.2 (Determine how a theme or central idea is conveyed through particular details…) Wow! Our experiences matter! caldecott_2017_classtop6

We narrowed the list to six books and we are voting this week. We took the criteria from the ALA/ALSC Caldecott Medal Terms and Criteria. We made lists. We ranked each point: 4 means “absolutely meets criteria”, 3 means “yes, meets criteria”, 2 means “maybe meets criteria”, and 1 means “nope.” (It’s interesting to see the similarities and differences in the two sections/classes, too.)

We will decide a winner on Thursday. Then we will watch on January 23rd as we find out if the real voters for the Caldecott Medal and Honors books will issue the same awards that we did. It’s going to be great! Just like learning should be.

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: The Loss Within

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SliceofLifeSwagMarch2016I found out that one of my mentor teachers has passed away. At the age of 53, it’s not fair that such an intelligent mind and driven spirit is no longer with us. Even though I only knew her a short time and only in the context of education workshops, I feel sort of empty inside this week because of all the learning others will miss in the future with her not around. I met her at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project summer institute in 2008. Here’s what Kathleen Tolan taught me: kathleentolan

  • Testing is a genre. Teaching to the test is not acceptable, but helping students to realize that sometimes school reading is a different kind of reading, for a different purpose, and that students can pass a test if they know some key pieces of information.
  • You must have a passion for what you do. Lucy Calkins once told a group, “Passion is powerful.” Kathleen had a passion for teaching and learning. She wanted everyone to do their best always. She was stubborn about it! She put forth great effort in her work, and expected the same from others. When I applied to become a staff developer at TCRWP, she wrote me a long letter about the aspects of the job I was not qualified for. I appreciated her honesty, and my reading workshop teaching is now better because of her advice.
  • Children are the future. She held students on a pedestal. Children can learn to become intelligent thinkers and take part in the world. Allow children to be their best, and even you can learn from them.

Thank you for your time, Kathleen. We will miss your determined drive and work in the world of education.

picture credit: www.heinemann.com

 

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Meeting the Slicers

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Slice of Life Small LogoI had the opportunity to meet many fellow “Slicers” during my week at NCTE16. It was fabulous to get to know more friends in person and place the faces with the small square icons on Two Writing Teachers blog (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com).

Thank you to Deb, Mandy, Julieanne, Margaret, Dahlia, Beth, Glenda, Melanie, Fran, Tara, Dana, and Michelle for being my virtual—-> real friends!

By the way, who has the picture of our table? I would love a copy please.

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