(I haven’t done a Slice of Life post in a few weeks, but felt this scene deserved its moment.)
Yesterday afternoon, I was facilitating some professional development through the Western Massachusetts Writing Project in a local urban school. We’ve been working with the teachers and administrators there since January, pursuing topics of classroom inquiry to help frame the importance of writing in a school that has struggled over the last few years. As is the custom of WMWP and National Writing Project events, I started us out with a simple “writing into the day” prompt that would lead to discussion. They wrote about an insight gained and a question that remains.
You could hear a pin drop as we all wrote for about 10 minutes. There’s a certain magical silence when a room full of people — teachers or students — are in the act of writing, as if the brainpower and thinking were concentrated on the paper (and computer keyboards). It’s very contemplative to be in the midst of that, isn’t it? Midway through the writing session, the principal (who has been participating when she can) came in, stopped in the doorway and looked at the roomful of her teachers, writing with concentration. I hoped she would not say a thing, and just let the magic continue, but that wasn’t to be.
“What’s going on in here?” she asked.
“Writing,” I replied, and then got her settled into the back of the room, where she started to write, too.
This is for Slice of Life challenge, a month-long activity of writing about the small moments in your life. Ruth and Stacey, over at Two Writing Teachers, host and support Slice of Life, but they also open their blog up each and every Tuesday for regular Slice of Life writing. You’re invited!
This is for Slice of Life.
Ok, so maybe close reading activities are not always fun, but we did our best yesterday as I introduced my sixth graders to the classic poem, Jabberwocky. First, we cold-read the Lewis Carroll poem, and here I had students volunteer to try their hand at reading the nonsense words. Then, I read it, in dramatic fashion. We then talked about the structure, and the story underneath the poem, looking for points of evidence. Finally, we watched the Muppets version of the poem, which is completely wacky and silly, and just the right tone to wrap up our close reading activity.
This is for Slice of Life, although the idea began over at our National Writing Project iAnthology site, we’ve been writing about teachers who made a difference in our lives. I created the following comic to remember three teachers whose philosophies and styles linger with me.
This is for Slice of Life. My drummer came into practice recently with some high-quality wireless microphones, and I have been practicing with one on my saxophone. This Friday, at our gig, I’ll give it a shot. I’ll no longer be tethered to the PA system. I can dance.
Here is my band — Duke Rushmore – in action as part of our video archives:
Peace (in the sound),
PS — if you live in Western Massachusetts, we’re at the Holyoke Paper City Brewery on Friday night, 6-8 p.m. Entry at the door gives you free beer from the brewery and live music.
This is for Slice of Life. I was thinking about the ways I write and share my daily slices of life, and I decided to create this “napkin graphic” to show what goes on under the hood, so to speak.
Peace (in the steps),
This is for Slice of Life. It’s not about my school, where I work, but about a school in my hometown where my son goes. The teachers there are apparently up in arms against principal, and we are mixed on the reasons, and worried about what it all means for our son’s education.