Thursday, September 20, 2012

Celebrating Success!

Last night, a striving reader (and writer) emailed me at 6:00 to ask if she could stay after school or come in early to get some feedback on her Article of the Week due on Friday.  Let's call her Jessica.   She had read the article coded it like we had practiced last week, and drafted a reflection.

I teach in a middle school. 

As a caveat, I am not Jessica's ILA teacher;  I provide intervention to Jessica in a small group setting.  Typically, if she asks for help at all, Jessica emails me a few days AFTER the due date.  But, not this time.  It was a Wednesday night and the assignment is due this Friday.

I was blown away. 

What is happening in Jessica's Integrated Language Arts (ILA) class that made her so engaged?  Simple:  through reading and writing workshop, her teachers are inspiring her. An environment for risk taking and success has been established, and this student feels it.  She wants to please them and she wants to become a better learner.   

Bravo to our seventh grade teachers for the inspiring work that they are putting in the hands of our students.  Here are a few things that I've seen happening in their classrooms that may be exciting students like Jessica to keep reading, keep writing, and keep trying. 
  • Minute Reading:  I was excited to be a "guest reader" in a sixth grade class to share, aloud, an interesting part of a novel.  Students listened intently to Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements. 
  • Articles of the Week:  Inspired by Kelly Gallagher, teachers are energizing students with authentic and relevant texts.  Click here to see my previous post about the assignments. 
  • Sentence of the Week:  Also inspired by Kelly Gallagher, students are looking at editng and revising differently, and teachers are looking for students to apply the learning into their writing. 
  • Writing Notebooks:  Teachers have set up success for writers to experiment and take risks through the use of their writer's notebooks.  
These are just a few instructional examples.  The classrooms are lively and full of conversations about books.  The walls are lined with inspiring quotes and teachers are listening closely to student stories.  The joy of reading and writing are at the heart of our classrooms.  Students are the heart of our classrooms.   Did I say this is going to be a great year?  Jessica thinks so, too. 

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