Slice of Life Day 12: Six Things That Happened Today…

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hFor the month of March I am writing a daily slice of life. Thank you TaraAnnaDanaStacey,  Betsy  and Beth at Two Writing Teachers for this blogging community of teachers, readers and writers. They give me ideas,  keep me inspired, and sometimes make me shed a tear or two. Check some of the many slices for day 12 of the challenge here.

Life in and around the classroom is a busy place. Here six mini slices that happened today.

One. We are working on information text and thinking deeply about what the writer is trying to teach us. This has been a process coming up with central ideas that the writer wants us to know versus what pops out at us as important because we place more value on it. We took next steps today by

  • Creating a menu of possible central ideas (thanks Fran)
  • We voted on which ones seemed to be the ones that we thought “fit” the author’s intent most closely
  • We had a tie, so we looked for evidence of each one.
  • We decided  the one with the most information supporting the central idea was what the author was focusing on.
  • We had a tie, so we had to look again and think.

Two. We (a few students and I) are blogging at lunch. I finally got them the link for the Slice of Life Classroom Blog so they can comment.  Their thoughts,

  • “Wow they have a lot of people blogging!”
  • “Hey we can call it sol instead of Slice of Life.”

Three. Two students are pursuing their stopmotion video at lunch in preparation for Genius Hour on Thursday. The power of choice right here.

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Four. I am passionate about blueberries now. Part of this is fueled by the lack of choice in my refrigerator.

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Five. We started instructional rounds as a staff. Today we got into teams of three and walked classrooms our focus being writing charts. I went looking with these questions in mind:

  • What do I feel validated about in my teaching? I keep charts up only if they are being used.
  • What questions do I have about my teaching? Are my charts truly usable/inviting? Could they be more multi-purpose reaching across units of study? Do they foster enough independence? Could I develop a spot that effectively supports for independent writing work?
  • What are some new ideas I see that I can take to  my classroom?  Here are just a few…

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Six. During the staff meeting we played “It Sucks.”  A few of us played this at edcampLA and thought we should bring it home. If you’ve never played, it goes like this– You come up with some controversial topics and ask the staff members to decide if they think it sucks, it’s awesome or if it is somewhere in the middle.

One side of the room is the “it sucks” side the other is the “it’s awesome” side. When the topic is named by the moderator, you put yourself on the spectrum by standing in the place you feel you are on the topic.

The moderator asks volunteers on either side of the issue to state their case. If you feel so moved you might shift your position a little in one direction or another based on their comment. Each round only lasts five minutes.

Results are fascinating. You learn about your colleagues and your mind opens up just a bit.

Our topics included homework, high stakes testing, teacher evaluations, English Language Learner Groupings, incentive systems for students, and BYOD.

Energy and ideas were everywhere. So glad to have the opportunity to connect with people who are right there, but sometimes so far away. 

Looking forward to our next steps.

16 thoughts on “Slice of Life Day 12: Six Things That Happened Today…

  1. I’ve been following your “thinking work” with charts and nonfiction with great interest, Julieanne – the menu of central ideas is a wonderful take away. PS. Loved the picture of your kids working – so into it!

  2. Wow! So much good stuff to write about. Your slice today reminds me almost of a brainstorming writing session that possible leads to more elaboration on one or more of the slices.

  3. I like your idea of six things happening. I like that in the middle of learning, teaching and PD you have blueberries. A reminder to take care of yourself.

  4. I love the questions you pondered as you visited other classrooms. Those charts are great! I was a busy day, but so much learning for you and the kids.

  5. What a full day. There is so much within your six things. I love the connections you make with both students and colleagues throughout the day. I like the structure of your slice- sort of like Ten Things Right Now.

  6. You have so many awesome things going on. I’m personally wanting desperately to play the ‘sucks’ ed camp game. I love how this connects with argument. Maybe we can play a version of this with kids…maybe changing it to , this stinks (I know it is more of a 60’s term) 🙂 xo PS blueberries look yummy to me!

  7. Wow, much to think about in every one of your six things, Julieanne. I like the questions and the walk around about the charts-good idea. Thanks for all-enjoy the blueberries.

  8. OK, two things I love — the flashdrafting roadblock anchor chart — do you mind if I replicate? And, the ‘it sucks’ game. We’ve been doing a lot of thinking around how argumentation shows up in our day after attending the TC institute last December. This is yet another fun, and thought-provoking way, to beef up our critical thinking skills. Thanks for sharing all your mini slices! Nice :).

    • Absolutely enjoy the chart. The “it sucks” game can also be modified for classroom. Did I mention our kindergarten teacher did it with her class? It was it’s good or it’s bad. Think peanut butter sandwiches.

  9. What an amazing day you had. Love the opportunity for instructional rounds and the “sucks” ed camp game. Maybe I can suggest it during our faculty meeting.

  10. What a good day! It’s so eye opening to see how much technology is being used in the classrooms. The boys using lunchtime to work on a video is awesome.

  11. I’m really interested in your work with reading nonfiction texts. I can see that Fran’s suggestion to vote and go back to look for evidence to support an overarching statement might be a way to re-engage the students with the ideas in text, something that seems essential for deeper learning to happen. I’m very interested to see where this journey takes you and your students. Thanks for another thoughtful post!

    • Going on with this work on information text, just a bit each day. Finding out more as we go on adventures will continue in a later post. Keep you updated.

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