#sol17- June 26, 2017
My mother is a 60’s hippie who never got over it, so it figures that I am a bit of a rule follower (although that seems to be only true when it can induce guilt, otherwise I make my own rules). The day before school ended I got a long list of things I should bring to the TC Writing Institute I would be attending a week later, including student writing (for one or more students, both on-demand and published), the Writing Pathways book, and mentor texts I love. I had already sent all my student writing home and because I was going to be traveling for the three weeks after the institute I could not see lugging extra heavy books, so I did what I could. I emailed my third graders to see if anyone would be willing to search through the piles of work I had sent home to pull out their on-demands for me to copy to take. Happily, one student responded and brought his in, so I felt relatively guilt-free just bringing that.
Fast forward to the Institute- we used the Pathways book for a few minutes on Thursday, but there were plenty extras around, so no stress. Friday morning she asked who had brought student work and in my quest to show that I was not completely remiss in following directions I passed my pile forward (#frontrownerd, so I was at the front table). Imagine my excitement when the amazing Mary Ehrenworth proceeded to use my student’s writing to demonstrate how she would use on-demands to notice strengths and possible teaching points. She used think alouds to show us how she looks across genres to see how he did/did not have control of the genre, what level he was performing at, etc. The writing was super strong (he came in strong thanks to his fab second grade teacher) and his work showed great progress across the year. This kid definitely sees himself as a writer and always tries out new strategies learned and self-assesses well. Mary asked to copy his work to use in future workshops (yes!) and even offered that she would love to do a Skype coaching session with him once we are back at school. This young writer will LOVE all this! I saved the notes she made and can not wait to tell him about the coaching session offer. I was already grateful to him for digging out the work and bringing it is on short notice, but now am even more so, as his writing taught me more about being a teacher of writers. I will be able to use Mary’s strategies in the future and happily have his writing to hold on to as a mentor text for future third graders.
I often use the hashtag #kidscanteachus and this was yet another great example. Today I am reminded that teachers are everywhere. I am so grateful for the time I had at TC learning from some of the best in the field and I am happy that my third graders continue to teach me too!
***Third graders who still keep slicing! Zhi Hong