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.

 

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: In That Moment, A Poem

(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)

In the moment in which that solitary snowflake landed in her outstretched hand, as if she were capturing a bit of loosened magic from the sky, the start of a small poem, too, tumbled into my head.

HandScratchPoemDraft(A draft started in freewrite time with students, revised during the day)

Peace (falling),
Kevin

Little Geometry

One single silent
snowflake, loose
– a goose lost from
its group – slow-motion
tumbler

Its landing softened
by her outstretched
hand: melted time

then, her lips
on skin
on ice
on sand

We’re lost in a
moment we may
never understand

Slice of Life/Day in Sentence: It Wasn’t So Easy After All

(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)

What I had at first hoped would be a straightforward technology lesson for students — using Quicktime to capture voice on audio — became, instead, incredibly unexpectedly complicated due to the distance between us — me, at home, with screenshots and tutorials; them, at home, using an unfamiliar application; and Zoom, refusing to play nice in allowing me to show what I needed to show.

Peace (finding the button),
Kevin

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: I Am So (not) Insulted

(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 laughed, and then she laughed, and then we all laughed as the insult generator landed on a particularly funny Shakespearean phrase that she expertly lobbed my way with her voice, cushioned first by a heartfelt apology not even necessary.

Peace (from the classroom),
Kevin

Comics About Writing: Break and Bend the Rules

Writing Teacher Self Guessing

The comic above led to a great conversation on Twitter the other day about the role of mentor texts, and learning from genres, and remix. Thanks to everyone who added in to the conversation (Sarah, Terry, Sheri, Daniel, Ronald, Jayne, etc.)

At one point, something somebody wrote (prob Terry) brought me back to making a comic about remix …

Original to Remix with Replication InBetween

Peace (in learning),
Kevin

Comic About Teaching: Zoom Mutterings

Teacher Zoom TalkI find it fascinating how pretty much universal this is: a presenter/teacher talking out about the technological things they are doing as the Zoom crowd waits for whatever comes next. I’ve even found myself apologizing to my students to narrating what I am doing to get things ready for class when we are on Zoom.

I always imagine my students having a chuckle about it at my expense. Which I don’t mind at all. The mute button is … right … over … here.

I put this into my album of Pandemic Comics, started last year.

Peace (out loud),
Kevin

Designing a Theme Park: Music Land

MusicLand MapIn our Informational Text unit, I have my students do all sorts of writing and activities, integrating design and art as well as informational text. The other day, they were designing out the map and plan for a Theme Park based on a theme, and as they did so, so too did I (as usual). My musical park could have had a catchier name but I had fun designing a place around music ideas.

Peace (singing it),
Kevin

Slice of Life: Documenting Opportunities (Pandemic Year)

Class Padlet(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.)

It’s a year or so into the Pandemic, and it seemed like a good time to have my sixth graders reflect in writing on life in the Pandemic. I framed their responses as a Message in a Bottle (digital version) for Future Historians. We used a Padlet wall to write and I asked them to share both the challenges and the positives.

While the Pandemic has been disruptive and terribly destructive, the lock-downs and social distancing have also opened up some unexpected opportunities for many of us. I wanted to make sure my students were not deep in just the negatives (they wrote plenty of these — from missing family to feeling isolated to wearing masks to missing the normalcy of school).

Here is some of what my sixth graders wrote on the positive side of things:

  • Acquired new goats (three of them for one student) and a donkey (for another)
  • Adopted many new puppies and rescue dogs
  • More time outdoors; hiking with family; Exploring spaces in town
  • Lots of online gaming with friends as social events
  • Dancing via Zoom, connecting with distant friends
  • Lots of extra time to work on new art projects
  • Time to skate on the frozen ponds and create lawn rinks
  • Bike riding and running together, as a family
  • Time to read lots and lots of new books
  • Horseback riding with family
  • Welcome break from constant “always on” sports seasons
  • Time enough to get caught up with schoolwork
  • Dreaming of the great vacations, once it is all over
  • Listening to more diverse music and discovering new artists
  • Lots of memes/too many memes/memes everywhere
  • Interesting Tik Tok videos and projects (like musicals)
  • More time to practice musical instruments
  • Exploration time with new technology (VR)

Peace (finding it),
Kevin