The Energy in the Room

#sol22-September 6, 2022

It is the fifth week of school and we are starting our personal narrative writing unit after an open genre unit designed to get the fifth graders t experience the joy of writing, There was an audible gasp in the room as I read from the third read aloud of the day:

“They caught their breath on the other side but little did we know that we had one more obstacle to face. We had to get to the buses. which were on a field, Holdup AN OPEN FIELD! guards rushed over with umbrellas. and escorted us to our buses. We came to our buses with Squishy, wet and cold shoes, and this time in years I actually took comfort in the ripped rubber seats and went home>”

Some of the students told me afterward, I think I remember that day!” They very well may- the mentor text was written by one of last year’s fifth graders and the current grade five students would have been in first grade when the story took place.

Earlier we had read a picture book (Watercress) and a short story (Eleven) and now it was time for some further immersion in the unit. Yesterday they had written their own personal narrative as a start and now they were building their schema- noticing and noting what characteristics they encountered in personal narratives.

The students took some notes and tomorrow we will read and share some of our initial findings. This afternoon was a cozy read-in. The learning support teacher took a small, self-selected group into the piazza to read aloud more texts to them, while. the EAL teacher and I remained in the class. Students had access to an Epic collection I shared and a stack of books in the room. The other teacher slid into a seat and talked through one student’s thinking.

A few minutes into our exploration E came over and asked me to read aloud because the audiobook on Epic was hurting his ears. Eventually, three others joined him as we read through a few more books together. One student noticed:

  • makes you feel the emotion
  • what they think
  • not the exact truth, but based on their life experiences
  • different senses
  • first person
  • emotion from character
  • how they get past the problem

I look forward to tomorrow already when we will start generating ideas- this group is filled with stories to tell!

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4 thoughts on “The Energy in the Room

  1. This group is lucky to have a teacher who fills them with an abundance of mentor text. My favoirte is using a prior student’s text about a moment all can recall because they also lived through it. The level of motivation to write is felt in this slice. Well done!!

  2. Isn’t that moment where the anticipation for writing is at its peak just the best? I love how you’ve created such a rich culture of literacy in just a few short weeks of school.

  3. Erika, I love how you portrayed the energy in the room. I loved hearing the audible gasp and delighting in the many choices students had for their reading. What a great day in grade 5!

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