Last Friday we added to our poetry anchor chart that some poetry follows a specified structure. (It's at the bottom of the chart!)
Some of you may remember from previous blog postings that we wrote Color Poems to help teach the objectives that poems appeal to all 5 senses, contain powerful language, and require us to infer. Here is the display of our colorful poetry in our hallway. You can see the 'flaps' students put over the top of the color they wrote about so that their audience would get the chance to infer what color they wrote about prior to peeking at the answer.
Last Friday we also had early release. The kids got to go home to play, and we teachers stayed at school to work. The thing is, I don't think the community knows that teachers stay to work on early release days because I had parent from a different grade say, "Any big plans this afternoon for you, Miss Bongers?" I kind of thought she was being sarcastic, so of course I replied with, "Oh, you know... just big plans to plan some literature discussion groups for next week!" She laughed, thinking I was kidding.
On early release days, teachers are required to be at school to work on a variety of tasks that are pre-assigned by our administration. This past Friday, our staff worked diligently to apply a lot of the new training we received last week at a literacy workshop on literature discussion groups. Although it would be awesome if we did, we teachers don't just magically know everything. :) We, too, have to learn, study, and practice. The world of education, best practices, and research of how students learn best continues to evolve every single day! As we learn more about literature discussion groups, we need to study and practice putting together planners for our literature discussion groups so that our instruction and facilitation are as effective as possible to lift students' comprehension and discussion.
For those of you who followed my blog last week, you followed me as I worked with my Pink and Say LDG. Prior to introducing the book to students, I created a planner using our district's LDG protocol to help me launch the book and facilitate the group successfully. Here is an example of what I planned (for nearly 3 hours!) prior to working with the group. We don't have a teacher's manual full of planners that we just whip out a minute before we meet with a group. Teachers work really hard and need time to plan PURPOSEFUL lessons for students so that their comprehension is truly lifted as they read, flag, and discuss text.
So, during early release last Friday, I worked to create another LDG planner for Henry's Freedom Box. You can see that all of our district's LDG texts have a bright pink sticker on them. This lets us as teachers know that it is a text that could spark some excellent conversation due to its content, language, literary elements, and themes. These texts are also culturally responsive and help students make greater connections to the diverse cultures and people that make up our world. On the right, you can see the notes I took about Henry's Freedom Box as I read it for the first time. I recorded symbolism, themes, vocabulary, and thicker questions about the text that I thought students could discuss at a deeper level. It's not organized and pretty, but then again, taking notes never really is! I used my notes and started to fill out a LDG planner just like the one shown above for Pink and Say. We have a field trip tomorrow and on Wednesday so my plan is to launch this Henry's Freedom Box LDG on Thursday. Stay tuned!