Monday, November 15, 2010

Why I don't feel the need to workout everyday...

So everyday, okay if honesty is the best policy...almost everyday, the class and I write together.  Call it interactive writing, call it sharing the pen; some of us like to call it a workout!  On paper it really sounds easy.  The teacher and the students talking together, coming up with ideas, and then with the teachers skillful direction, the students come up and write the letters/words on a large chart paper.  Well it actually goes more like this. 

"Well today kindergarten I was thinking we could write about rain.  Hmmmm what do we know about rain?  (All the while the teacher is hoping to have the kids write Rain is...)  Maybe we could say rain is...something.  Why don't you turn and talk to your neighbor and then we will share out."  After a few minutes the teacher gets everyone attention and before she can call on one student, it sounds like this "WOIEWJRLKJDHFOHDFIHOSIFOIDFOSIJF"  That would be the sound of 23 kindergarten students shouting their ideas.  Who know rain would be so exciting. :)  Once the rule of raising your hand to talk  is reviewed a quiet student is called on.  "Johnny what should we write about rain"  Much to the teachers chagrin,  Johnny answers "Can you tie my shoes?"  Which is echoed by a chorus of "I can".  Once the teacher, who now has removed her sweater and is beginning to sweat, gets everyone mind back on rain, a sentence is finally decided on... rain in wet.    Now comes the saying it on your fingers 3 or 4 times(hold  up a finger for each word in the sentence as you say it), then the gluing it in your head (putting your finger to your forehead as you say it each word), then saying it as you map it out on the paper.  With such gusto the teacher gets out the special black permanent marker, which has left it's mark on way too many of her pants, and says "Ok so the first word we are going to write is...."  At which point the answer is "OIWEJOENKJFNEOIUHFEO"  Okay back to reviewing rule number 5, raising your hand to talk.  Then the teacher tries the question again.  This time the answer is "I um like"  Okay back to reviewing what we are going to write.  So finally the the right word of rain is given.  The teacher timidly says "Say rain slowly...r-a-i-n".  This is followed by shouts of R R R R   or   r-a-i-n.  Now the teacher is mopping up the sweat that is dripping off her forehead and moving to open the window.  "I love that you are saying the word slowing.  Don't just shout a letter.  Say the word slowly.  (pause)  Not quietly tell me what sound you hear. "  Now the students and the teacher make the connection with Rayven's name and rabbit on the ABC chart.  One person is chosen to touch Rayven's name on the name chart and another person is chosen to touch the rabbit on the ABC chart.   Then Raven comes up and takes that special marker and makes her R.  While the teacher is helping her, she is trying (key word trying) to manage the other 22 students by having them write the letter R on their hands.  Triumph right....well not quite.  That is only the first letter in the sentence of Rain is wet.  So the whole process begins again to finish the word rain and continue on through the sentence.  By the end, the teacher has pushed her sleeves up, opened all windows and feels as though she just ran a mile. That is until they read the sentence for the last time to make sure it is finished, because that is what writers do. Suddenly the class breaks out in spontaneous applause.  Daniel calls out "Awesome, we are writers."  This time there is no reminder of rule number 5.  Instead a smile breaks out on the teachers face as she realizes, all the sweat and headache was worth it to get to that moment.  The moment when these 5 and 6 year olds' view themselves as writers. 

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