For more great Slice of Life stories, visit the Two Writing Teachers website, hosted by Ruth Ayers and Stacey Shubitz.
Yesterday I read Ruth's post about having much on your mind and no time to reflect. The part that struck me was the reminder that you sometimes have to make space in your brain in order to reflect. I have been monitoring my student's writing closely. Having a student teacher has been great for reflection. I've had to reflect on my teaching practices, beliefs and reasons for my beliefs in order to help best guide and coach her.
It's challenging to give up the teaching of writing for me. It was the last thing I gave over to my student teacher and it's the first thing that I will take back as she eases out. I'm still very much a part of the writing workshop in my classroom but it is odd not being the one in charge during this time. Of all the different parts of the day, this is the most difficult for me. I have been frustrated at times with my students and how they are behaving. They are a tough group and give my student teacher a run for her money most of the time; writing workshop is no exception.
Out of my frustration came the need to really dive into their work and break it down for myself. I have been monitoring all along. I have been working to be sure I have conferenced with each student during the week, in addition to the work my student teacher is doing with them. I've been watching and coaching her through her lessons. However, I needed to lay out all the writing and see where we were as a whole.
Here is what I found: student growth! Let's take a look at B...
In just a short time this writer has changed quite a bit. The other students are growing similarly - although there are varying levels. Seeing the whole class together allowed me to reflect on how widely spread the skill levels are of the children in my classroom.
Here are a few more examples:
It was my birthday.
I was both encouraged and discouraged as I looked through their writing. I see glimmers of greatness in students. I see students who have a long road ahead of them. But I know we will get there. We will continue to grow and learn together.