Slice of Life: Hold On To The Positive (Comic)

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

This is a comic slice, the latest edition to my collection of comics I have been making since the Pandemic began as a way to deal with the turmoil. With this school year over, I am in reflective mode.

Hold On To The Positive

Peace (in panels),
Kevin

Memory Drop and the Pandemic School Year

I Don't Remember When

This was inspired by a real conversation I had with my teaching colleagues on the last days of school … seriously, we were having trouble remembering when things happened. It was that kind of year.

Peace (recalling it),
Kevin

Slice of Life: This Is How The School Year Ends

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

In the short but provocative novel Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher, the classroom of sixth graders has a tradition that they enact whenever someone is set to leave the class during the school year (either by moving or some other event). They conduct a Rock Ritual. The way it works is that the student who is leaving chooses a mineral or stone from a class collection, and then each classmates passes the rock around the circle, telling stories of the student who is leaving. That student takes the rock with them, with the idea that the rock has collected the words, stories and memories.

When we read Flying Solo in the middle of the year, my class of sixth graders all asked if we could do our own version of the Rock Ritual at the end of this crazy Covid year. I said yes, of course, and this morning, on our last day together, we will gather in the classroom to have our ritual (using Ring Pops instead of rocks).

Yesterday, we spent part of our morning with a sheet of all of their names, writing down ideas for the stories we would tell.  (Frequent Question: Can we write about ourselves? Answer: Of course). You should have heard the noise and laughter, and sharing, even though I suggested we wait until today’s actual Ritual to share (this is a rather boisterous and louder-than-usual class of sixth graders that is relentless in its socializing).

I’ll have to circle around another day to really reflect on this year of teaching and learning in the Pandemic, and all that I have learned and wished I had learned, and everything else. For now, I will settle into a final act of Community in the Classroom, as we tell stories of our time together in a year like no other.

Peace (and tradition),
Kevin

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: Blurry Brain

(The Slice of Life Challenge in March is hosted by Two Writing Teachers as way to encourage teachers-as-writers. You can join in, if you want. There is also a monthly call for Slices on Tuesdays. You can write then, too)

Four hours of in-person teaching immediately followed by three straight hours of parent-teacher conferences on Zoom immediately followed by two hours of facilitating professional development on Zoom leads to what only could be described as a very blurry brain.

Peace (wide awake and ready),
Kevin

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: Some Semblance of Normal

(The Slice of Life Challenge in March is hosted by Two Writing Teachers as way to encourage teachers-as-writers. You can join in, if you want. There is also a monthly call for Slices on Tuesdays. You can write then, too)

The classroom seemed unusually crowded and louder than usual as some semblance of normal, or as close to normal as one can get in a Pandemic, settled in, with every single one of our masked-up sixth graders returning physically to the building for the first time in a year. *

Peace (with the energy of the young),
Kevin

*We’d been in Hybrid Mode since October, with half the students in school some days.

 

Visual Slice of Life: The Eyes Have It

(The Slice of Life Challenge in March is hosted by Two Writing Teachers as way to encourage teachers-as-writers. You can join in, if you want. There is also a monthly call for Slices on Tuesdays. You can write then, too)

This is a sample of some of the faces created and shared by students last week as we talked about “reading emotions” in the Pandemic, when our masks cover our faces.

Their task, as part of our social-emotional lesson, was to answer the question: How are you feeling about coming back in full to school?

(Which happens this coming week) They had to capture their feeling in a picture with both a mask and mask-less face, as we then talked about the importance of our eyes and addressed any anxiety over the coming changes ahead for our school.

Classroom Face Collage

Peace (noticed),
Kevin

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: One Year Ago Today

(The Slice of Life Challenge in March is hosted by Two Writing Teachers as way to encourage teachers-as-writers. You can join in, if you want. There is also a monthly call for Slices on Tuesdays. You can write then, too)

It was exactly one year ago, today, when we walked out of the classroom on a Friday afternoon (the 13th) and never returned to the building for rest of the school year.

Peace (thinking on a year),
Kevin

 

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: The Books They Choose

(The Slice of Life Challenge in March is hosted by Two Writing Teachers as way to encourage teachers-as-writers. You can join in, if you want. There is also a monthly call for Slices on Tuesdays. You can write then, too)

I do love it so very much when I get a chance to see the choices my students make for the books they want to be, and are, reading.

Peace (in pages),
Kevin

 

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: We Do Have Fun With Words

(The Slice of Life Challenge in March is hosted by Two Writing Teachers as way to encourage teachers-as-writers. You can join in, if you want. There is also a monthly call for Slices on Tuesdays. You can write then, too)

Words in a Cloud 2021

Give them a chance, and young writers will invent words that will spark your pondering and set you guffawing, and make you wonder where our language might yet be heading.*

Peace (invented and spoken),
Kevin

*This is the 17th year that my sixth graders have been building an online collaborative dictionary of invented words. It’s part of a unit on word origins. Each year, every student adds a new word, and their voice (through audio file), to the dictionary. It’s just one of those annual rituals that keeps moving forward …

Listen to this year’s voice collection.