Sunday, May 15, 2011

They said what????

      We all know that students say the funniest, most random, smartest, and confusing things sometimes.  I am often amazed at what comes out of their mouths (and not always for good reasons).  But, this week, I sat back in my chair in amazement as I listened and tried to frantically write down my students' words so I wouldn't forget the enlightening discussion that was going on.
      Each day, we have a time of closure and sharing at the end of our Daily Five block.  I sometimes step in and ask a clarifying question to get the student to more explicitly explain his/her thinking, but last Wednesday I literally did not say an entire word for five minutes while my students discussed and debated about Nico's inference.  It was a proud moment.  I was so proud of them for having the knowledge and thinking skills that they do now at the end of the year.  I was proud that all of my work trying to set up a climate where my students feel comfortable to share what they know and respectfully discuss with their classmates.  Here's part of the conversation:
      Nico:  I was reading Where the Wild Things Are, and I'm inferring the author's purpose was to teach. 
      Elizabeth: What's your evidence?
      Nico: Well, he's teaching me what the forest is like.
      Anius: But isn't that a fiction book? Usually the author's purpose isn't to teach in fiction books.
     Boston:  Anius, but remember that fables (they're the same as fiction) are fiction books but they try to        teach us a lesson? Remember when we read The Tortoise and the Hare? That's fiction but it taught us a lesson.  
      Anius:  Oh yeah. So Nico, do you still think the author's purpose is to teach or to entertain?
     Nico: Maybe to entertain because there were lots of funny parts.

Never underestimate the power you have when you are silent and let your students do the talking!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Blogging Adventure

        Welcome to my new blog!  This is my first attempt at blogging, so please bare with me as I figure things out.  I am a second grade teacher in southeastern Wisconsin.  In 16 1/2 days (not that I'm counting), I will finish my fourth year of teaching.  For my first two years, I taught first grade in the inner city before I moved to my current district.  My time in first grade gave me a passion for teaching reading and writing to young kids.  So, I plan to use this blog as a way to share my reflections, wonderings, classroom experiments, and findings related to best practices in primary literacy education.  Please follow me as I learn and grow as an educator!