Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Newbie Story

From the Star

So with the holidays getting near, things are getting super hectic. If it wasn’t crazy with the students being off their rockers because they are so excited about not only Christmas and getting a break from “so much work”, we have to try to balance Invention Convention, holiday activities, our everyday lessons and the dreadful FAIR. Wow, and some say teachers have a cake job. If only they knew!

We have been working on the Expository writing in Writers' Workshop for the last 3 weeks and, of course, all children work at their own pace. So I have some students who have been done since week one and then others who haven’t even finished their final drafts and begun to publish. So the question is what do you do with my accelerated writers. I asked the other teachers for ideas on what they do. They told me that they just have them write another piece, which would usually be a pretty easy task, but with the holidays around the corner getting them to finish the one piece and do it correctly has been a task. So I decided to let my students get into groups of 3 or 4 and create either a expository skit explaining something that they enjoy or a narrative skit. I thought it was a great idea because it gave the students a chance to work on their writing skills as well as work as collaborating. In the planning stage I figured the kids would get ideas of how other kids planned and they would enjoy the work at the same time. Now that's a novel idea - work and fun at the same time!

For the past week the students have been working on their skits and the day came for them to share what they had been doing with me. Well, as I am sure I have told you before, the assistant principal likes to pop in 2-3 times a week just to see what I am doing. When she walked in this time I had the students putting on a skit about the basics of soccer, so they were kicking a ball around as they explained the details of how to do each specific move. Let me just tell you the look on her face when she walked in was priceless. She had that look of “What the **** is going on!” So when the boys finished their play I had them explain to her what they were doing and what the purpose was. Of course I had a moment of panic at what they might say but they actually did a great job explaining the activity and how it helped with learning how to explain something. Well if that wasn’t enough for a day, not two seconds after she walked out the Principal came by to see our skits. Now let me just tell you she rarely comes in, so, of course, I was thinking, “Oh boy!” She stayed for the whole skit that was being performed so once the girls finished, they talked with the principal. She read the skit and they talked about the activity and, as usual, she just left the classroom without saying a word to me. So now I am stuck thinking to myself, did they both come in because they thought that it was a great way of learning or did they both come in to see what I was doing because they thought it was a horrible idea? Unless someone tells me differently, I thought that the skits were good. The students seemed to really enjoy it while learning all at the same time. It's hard to get better at your craft if you don't get any feedback. It's always nice to hear good stuff but actually, even if it's hard to hear, you really learn the most from honest feedback. Teachers, and administrators, seem to have a difficult time with that... Can't wait for the break - from the confused stressed out newbie

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