a personal learning network (pln) story
I do not like them! I do not like PLNs, I do not like them Sam I Am!
A quiet epiphany this year has been that although educational “best practice” (like PLNs and keeping up with professional blogs) can feel unattainable and therefore a reminder of failure, when you find that certain virtual colleague that you can trust for her candidness, well . . . that’s a different story. It’s more of an inspiration. Less a professional obligation than a friendly distant colleague.
Two Apples a Day has been that for me. I mention it at the risk of sounding like I’m fully and digitally connected. No, I happened to stumble on this site . . . I’ve forgotten how. It’s pure gold! Really applicable. Heart-felt without being overbearing. A teacher’s dream–the good kind–something you can use in your classroom TOMORROW. Out of the box. The ideas just work.
I will try one in a box. I will try one with a fox.
Evidence: As a take on Jee Young’s recent post about making a collage with kids as a thoughtful reading response, my students responded with a collage to “Leah’s Pony” by Elizabeth Friedrich. This is a story of a young girl living during the Dust Bowl era who considers selling her prized pony to help save her family’s farm. The students considered the “author’s message” with evidence from text then illustrated their thinking by depicting what they would be willing to give up for another person.
Spoiler Alert: Leah, indeed, sells her pony to purchase her father’s tractor at auction. She then receives the pony back from the man she sold it to with a note indicating that it was too small for him to ride and too big for his grandchildren to ride.
I shared that my “pony” is giving up time, sleep, $$$ for books for my students. Ultimately, my “pony” would be having my students write in 15 years to say that they were doing a job that they loved.
This list keeps growing.
Here are some of my favorite read alouds as a teacher:
- Charlotte’s Web
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle
- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
- A Single Shard
- Any book by Mildred D. Taylor
- The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
- The Lotus Seed
- Summer Sands
- My Freedom Trip
- The Royal Bee
- The Empty Pot
- My Lucky Day
- Weird Friends
- Any book by Steve Jenkins!!
writing: show not tell
Here’s an idea from a colleague in real life who suggested that students may need some visual reminders to add lots of feeling in their writing. This is a portion of the emotion chart we composed together.
We have discussed how much more effective it is to show how you are skeptical, rather than writing, “She’s skeptical.” What would she be doing or saying to let you know that she feels this way? “She put her hand on her chin and looked out of the corner of her eyes.”
collaborating with unseen writers
Here’s a story that our class composed with other 3rd graders across the country. Sadly, the last teacher to sign up forgot to submit the ending and title. Feel free to compose your own: