Monthly Archives: November 2017

Sharing the TC Love


#sol17- November 14, 2017

While I am a self=professed PD junkie and I love to share what I learn I shy away from sharing at more formal opportunities. When I lived in Germany I did present a few times at the Association for German International Schools Teacher Conference, but I warned all my friends and colleagues away. I have also presented at a few EdCamps and nErDcamps, but those felt okay. We have a tradition (off and on) at my current school of TTTs (Teachers Teaching Teachers sessions)- some years there are whole school versions and I even did that once (again, asking friends to stay away- one disobeyed). This year the elementary school has revived these sessions at the ES campus, and since it was partly at my insistence I felt like I should offer a workshop. Last summer a colleague and I both had the opportunity to attend the TC Advanced Writing Institute so we could share together. We signed up in September and were assigned the first spot- in November- comfortably far in the future.

Fast forward to last week and we were scrambling to find times to get together to plan this week’s share.¬† We met twice (complicated by me completely forgetting one meeting due to meeting overload) and decided on a “Top Ten Takeaway” format, with each of us responsible for five, as we had attended different sessions and teach different levels. When planning separately we found our ideas built on each other’s well and it seemed manageable- after all, it is report writing season and our colleagues would be grateful if we kept it short and sweet. The TTT sessions are optional, so we knew we would not have a huge crew there, but still, I maintain that presenting to colleagues is the most intimidating kind of pressure. I assumed Araceli was a confident presenter because she is so outgoing, but she admitted her apprehension as well.

In the end, we had had about 15 colleagues show up, including our principal and vice principal, ESL teachers, LR teachers, and classroom teachers from grades 1-5. We shared our takeaways, answered questions, and then breathed a sigh of relief- we had a very supportive audience (and we were done). As we spoke briefly afterward we both appreciated the experience- it had helped us remember what we had learned and spread some tips we wanted to share. It had also pushed us both outside of our areas of comfort, which is almost always a good thing (in fact Araceli says she wants to present again).




Zhi Hong (student from last year) keeps slicing and would love some comments!


Joy Writing (and Reading too!)


#sol17- November 7, 2017

My afterschool activity has morphed this year and it has been so fun to watch it evolve. For the last few years, I have offered an ASA I call “Book Love”. The premise is that we start with a read aloud and/or some book trailers and then we read or write (or both). Usually, most of the students have read.

This year I have 18 students from Grade 2-5, 12 boys and 6 girls. Six of those students were in my homeroom last year (and one of them said sweetly today, “I really miss this room!”). This year more of the students than ever before are choosing to write – the numbers being more or less even. What I notice is that many of the boys are enjoying writing collaboratively- either planning a series together and writing separately, or choosing an idea and each writing their own spin. What I also notice is that some of these students really want to share their writing (and sadly today we did not have time for this in the end- that will be corrected next time). I love listening to them as they write- talking about the influences on their writing (“You know, just like in the book…”) or what they will write next. There are lots of great graphic novels being created and many other forms as well! One little girl (who is a prolific writer) spent the entire hour without putting a word on the page once she made her book, but she was busy the whole time, watching others, engaging in the conversations, and thinking.

Then there are the readers, often sprawled out on the floor, calling out thoughts as they come (“Why is this line, ‘I am your father’ so well known?”, “Do you have the most recent one in this series?” “Did you get Dog Man back yet from whoever had it?” ). A few of the fourth grade boys take turns having “The Pigeon” sit by them as they read.

I love this no stress hour each week where we can come together as readers and writers and just do what we want! It is easy to see the joy.



*** Zhi Hong and the emergency room.