Saturday, May 20, 2017

Big Messages from Little People {Celebrate this Week}

This week I'm celebrating word choice and big messages from little people.

Our Parent Teacher Organization runs a Write Shop for the students each year where they are able to publish their writing in a "hard bound" book.  If you've read Donald Graves work he wrote about the power of publishing many times.  The books are made from chipboard wrapped in patterned or solid contact paper.  The students help sew their writing with a needle and thread to the spine and rubber cement the end papers to finish off the inside.  We have a rubber stamp with our publishing company for the school and these books become treasures.  

Yesterday we started the morning with Poetry Friday but instead of reading other authors we read our Write Shop books and left Reader's Comments.  To be honest, I had read all the poems one night and early morning trying to help with editing.  It was quick and fast because I was focused on catching spelling errors and I was surprised the poems didn't stick with me.  As I read each student's book in a published format, my heart started bursting with joy.  I could see the mini lessons we had worked through come alive.  I saw details in illustrations but one poem in particular really made me stop in my tracks.

A quiet student wrote a short poem.  A short poem with carefully selected words with a big message.  Our world is filled with goodness but turmoil and sadness.  Our own lives are filled good things that can bring self doubt and uncertainty.  I'm sure we could all use or know someone who can use this kind of medicine.  


                                                

Thank you Ruth for encouraging us to stop and think about Celebrations.  
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Haiku #1 {Poetry Friday}

rhythmic back and forth
natural flashy Spring bursts
bouncing between clouds


Today is the last Friday of school and I'm thinking about my summer plans and things I want to rekindle, writing being one of them.  Another, is taking a few moments daily to focus and notice things around me.  I think focus, notice, my notebook, and haikus are part of my summer plans.

Poetry Friday this week is being hosted by Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Reading Fluency Probe Reflections {Slice of Life}


"For this reading project, I need you to read as fast as you can.  
I want you to pretend you are at the races.
When you are done, I'm going to tell you the number of words you read per minute.  
We are going to do this three times.  
Ready, set, go."


Reflection - 
I decided to try something different this time around with three one minute reading fluency probes (and stay within the parameters).  I decided to try and empower my students.  I decided to give them immediate feedback in numerical form.  I decided to be truthfully honest about their performance each time.  I decided to give them information to drive their performance.  

I'm about two-thirds of the way done administering this assessment and my students love knowing their numbers after each read.  They are impressed with how high it is and then driven to read a few more words per minute.  I'm blown away by how many words per minute they are reading without any practice in-between assessments.  The practice they have had is real reading in real books at their own pace.  

I had to set the stage today with a student I've told to slow down all year.  We've had moments of "mini conflict" because his speedy reading was not allowing him to comprehend.  I had to encourage him to read as fast as he could today.  When he got done, he looked at me and said, "Mrs. Robek, I didn't understand anything I just read!"  

I'm not a fan of how this assessment tool is being used.  I'm not a fan of what happens if a student doesn't meet the benchmark based on national norms but by giving my students the number of words per minute they are reading I saw their progress increase which should keep them out of the terrible outcomes and for one student, it helped reinforce the main reason readers read.  May we all continue to read for understanding.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this writing community.