A few days ago, I was discussing with my class the various ways we would be engaging in authentic writing experiences. We talked about the pen pals they will have with my mother-in-law’s fifth grade students in Champaign, which many are excited about. I also mentioned how I was thinking of having one or two students write a blog update once a week during our Read Write Think activities on Friday afternoon.
First I had to set the ground rules: No names (except mine), and I wanted it to be positive. Also, I reminded them that I have absolute editorial authority, but I would try to keep the writing as authentically theirs as I could. What follows is the update written for today by two of the girls in my class:
Today in Mr. Valencic’s class, at lunch recess, we had an extremely bad problem. A loose dog, chased kids on the playground. There was one student in particular that got hurt badly! He got bitten on the face. It was scary and quite sad. But that wasn’t the only thing that happened today!
We also had so much fun in The Thinks You Think project. We were split into small groups of four or five. What we did was find explicit and implicit details in books that we got assigned to. It was really fun and awesome. We also had a fun period of Read, Write, Think. There are some enjoying chess, some playing bingo, Battleship, Guess Who?, Connect 4, and origami. I hope the rest of Friday will be wonderful!
There was a letter sent home to parents to explain what happened during lunch recess, and the teachers will be doing some major follow-up teaching with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades to help better model how to respond to an emergency, particularly when there is a loose animal on the playground during lunch recess. We are very fortunate that none of the injuries were serious!
The students really did do an amazing job finding explicit and implicit details and discussing the differences between summaries and main ideas. The principal even came in and observed, then told me and my grade-level partner how impressed she was with how well the lesson went.
I can hardly believe the first quarter ended a week ago! I just finished report cards and am now preparing for parent-teacher conferences next Thursday and Friday. However, I am really looking forward to taking a break this weekend! My baby sister is coming down to attend the Illinois Marching Band Championships. It is looking to be a great follow-up to a great day!