Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sweet Smells - Breath Slower {Slice of Life}

I open the back door on a mission to start the grill for dinner and I stop in my tracks.  The sky is blue with bursts of white clouds and sun radiating down on my evening; which is enough to make anyone stop for a moment to enjoy but it's the sweet smell that stops me.  I turn to my right and my lilac blossoms are bursting.  I find such sweet joy in their smell.  It lightens my step.  It makes me breath slower.  However, tonight I realized they do so much more.  They take me back in time.  

I'm standing in Grandma and Grandpa's driveway.  The same smell of sweetness is there.  It's toward the right, down a very small hill.  I can't get there on a direct path because the gardens are there with rows of berry bushes.  I turn my pace into a jog and dodge the garden by turning left, then right, and head straight to the three lilac bushes.  When I get there I take deep big breaths and am in love with their sweet sweet smell.  I believe her flowers were more blue/purple and white.  Quite often we would cut some off the bush/tree and wrap their stems in damp paper towels so I could take them home.  

I return to my current mission and light the grill.  The scent of these lilacs really gave me a mental image of a place.  As I write this post, I'm surprised my grandmother wasn't with me but in reality I would sneak to these lilacs whenever I could to smell them with or without her.  I don't know if I've ever really thought about the scent of something guiding my writing but I'm going to share this idea tomorrow with my writers.  

I wish you could smell these; allowing yourself to stop and breath a little slower.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for hosting our Slice of Life writing community.

                                                


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I forgot something? {Slice of Life}


"Mrs. Robek, you forgot something."

I kept going with our shared writing experience because I didn't think I was missing anything.  We discuss more ideas for our piece of poetry.  We negotiate the text.  We edit.  We revise.  

"Mrs. Robek, you forgot something."

I need to validate this thought and inquire.  Maybe I did forget something.

"Mrs. Robek, you forgot the punctuation."

"L, poetry doesn't have to have punctuation.

The room erupts.  The room was buzzing with questions, exclamation marks, and puzzlement.  I tried to explain the difference between a sentence and phrase or a list.  Their little faces showed shock and awe and processing.  I can't wait to see how this impacts their poetry writing tomorrow.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this Slice of Life community.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Simple Formative Assessment {Slice of Life}



Me:  What did you learn today doing this investigation?

7 and 17 are both odd
6 and 16 are both even


Me:  What did you learn today doing this investigation?

19 is odd
I actually thought it was even.
I tried 8 + 8 but that was only 16.
With 19, I can't make equal groups.


Impromptu.  Verbal.  Quick.
These are two snippets I wrote down on a post it note today as I conferred with partners after they did an inquiry during math workshop.  They were figuring out if the numbers 1-20 were even or odd.  They built a stick with unifix cubes and then tried to make the longer stick into two equal groups.  They then created a t chart or two circles to place their handmade post it note number cards in the correct spot.  I could easily see if they had the numbers placed in the correct category but I wanted to hear more about their thinking.  

So, I asked a simple impromptu question; What did you learn today doing this investigation?  I'm always interested in the words and verbal responses my students give.  It's much more fun and interesting than a paper/pencil exit ticket.  I was surprised to see my first discussion discovered a pattern and I didn't take them further with this justification but if the ones place number stays the same with the tens place value changing the number will also be odd or even. To continue their sharing; 47 is odd and 86 is even.   My second conference made me aware of a misconception a student had and how he cleared up his own misconception.  

As we walked to outside recess I realized these conversations were quick formative assessments.  Open ended questions that showed me more thinking than three questions asking students to identify odd and even numbers.  This was quick and easy and insightful.  I need to do this more often and possibly consider my students putting their thinking in writing in their math journal to capture more responses and thoughts from everyone.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life writing community.