Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Thing at a Time!

Do you ever try to shove a bunch of concepts into a little persons brain and then feel surprised when it doesn't really go well? I am continually telling myself to work on one thing at a time with students. Remain focused! I find this can be hard when I start to feel the pressure of getting through material and moving kids to the next level. However, trying to get kids to go faster really doesn't seem to work. They are going to go the pace they can go, there isn't much we can do about this except motivate them to reach that potential each day!
I continue to move through the lessons and amazing ideas of Horn and Giacobbe as I read Talking, Drawing, Writing. If you have read anything on my blog here recently and are getting tired of me talking about this book, let it be an indicator as to how good this book really is for the early elementary teacher.
It has really helped me focus and slow down. I feel so much joy during writer's workshop and the pace is their own; I love it!
Below is another example of a student's work both before and after talking through his writing. He is clearly a student who strings letters together because he knows that print carries a message, but he is forgetting to include some additional things that he knows.

Here M. reads his story, "I am going to the party."

 After conferencing with him, we talked about how nicely detailed his picture was. You can clearly see him and his mom in the car, on their way to the house down the road. I loved how he added depth to his picture with the driveway and the circle making it look farther away. I asked him, "where did you write the word the?" He then grabbed his pencil, because he and I both know he can spell this word, and he eagerly added "the." My next question was, "what do you know about the word, party?" to which he produced the /p/ sound and wrote "p." In a past life I would have likely done this as well as gone back and done an initial sound for each word, possibly revising parts of his picture as well. That would have been too much. I am still suppressing the urge to fix everything with a student, but I do really enjoy little bursts of instruction as opposed to getting stuck with one student for too long. He has so many good things going on, I should be more focused on what is going well, and less focused on what needs to be fixed. Hurray for M!


Anonymous said...

Once again, I am so thrilled to be reading about work similar to mine - so it is especially wonderful to read about the thinking and support you are providing - a great example for me.

elsie said...

Love to read about your little ones and see the befores and afters. It continues to remind me, slow and strong is the best way. Thanks.

teacherdance said...

I am sharing your words with some of the teachers of younger students in my school. It's interesting to hear your thinking about the process, and about the book! I want to tell you too that some of what you say also applies to older students. The timing is the timing and you can't hurry it or it doesn't stick anyway. I celebrate what's there and work at the next step along the way, as you seem to be doing. Nice to see the story pic, too.