Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chalk-A-Bration October 2013

Are you new to Chalk-A-Bration? 

Here is some background:
Chalk-A-Bration began back in March of 2012 when my husband and I were chalking on our driveway with our children. He began writing song lyrics and I began to think that a poem in chalk would be neat. I decided to do a Slice of Life in chalk for my SOLSC and the response got me thinking further. What if others wanted to chalk a poem? My husband pushed me to start the celebration and Chalk-A-Bration was born.

I chalk with my students now and the excitement they have at the end of the month is always a delight. They love to illustrate and write poetry in chalk. I hope you will join and bring your students along for the ride as well.

Here is my chalk poem for the month:

With a tinge of green
an atomic clock
ticks, as colors stalk
they spread
like red fire
encapsulated color. 

My daughter joined me in the driveway this week too. She was inspired by trees we drove past when going on a "color drive" this past weekend. It seems they inspired both of us.
 I hope you will come back to see all the celebrations students and grown-ups create. In the meantime you need to go out and chalk, take a photo and link up! Remember, we aren't picky here at Teaching Young Writers, link up today, tomorrow any time in the near future and be sure to check out the other chalkers! Come back at the end of each month to share in the celebration of poetry and chalk.


Margaret Simon from Reflections on the Teche shares her students spooky collection of chalk poetry.

Linda Baie from Teacherdance has a goulishly frightful poem using a chalk app! 

Robin from Teaching Tomorrow's Leaders is in with her students chalk illustrations. Even though it was raining they broke out the chalk.

Miss Scott and her students from First Grade Learners and Wonderers are in with a poem about What Halloween Is.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

An All Week Celebration

I was lucky this week. I got to celebrate triumphs and struggles all week long with parents during conferences. Struggles are a celebration as well. We get to see where the child is going. What will they do next? What is their next hurdle to jump and triumph to share?

I won't gloss it over too much. Students have struggles. Struggles that have as much to do with school as they do with their whole life. We all focus on these at times. However, I don't always see this focus as a bad thing as long as we have an ending goal in sight. My mom always says, "What we focus on expands." She is right. If we only focus on what is wrong and despair in this weakness it will grow like a weed in a rosebush.

It was my challenge this week to focus on all that was going well but to also share honestly.

I shared. Parents and I walked through all the content areas and learned where their child excels. Some are really good at Social Studies. Some are showing strength in science. Others are reading well above grade level. Students are growing and learning everyday.

During the conferences, if the students were present, I had them share their writing with their parents. It didn't matter what level the writer was, I did not see a single parent sit quietly or disgusted when their child shared their words. They were proud. They had every right to be proud. The evidence of growth from their once four or five year old, now five or six year old was there; right on the page. Everyone was smiling.
This is what I love about being a teacher of writers. The growth and evidence are always right in front of me. Sometimes with math or science it is harder to show a change over time with evidence. A unit test? It just doesn't have the same effect as a piece of writing from a once four year old to a year later.

Another celebration: Apparently there are rumors going around about me among students and their parents.
I had one parent ask, "So this looping thing, when does that end?"

I was a little taken aback. Uh oh, not sure I like the sound of this. I responded, "Well, after this year they will go to second grade and have a new teacher."

I had thought based on their tone maybe they were unhappy with the looping process. Wrong assumption.

"What? Why? I thought you were going to have them until fourth grade!?"

Upon further questions and discussions with parents, some thought I would continue with their child next year or through third grade, the misconceptions were plenty and I was a little bit touched by their responses. These parents are so invested in me and their child's education. We have a bond. One that will be hard to say goodbye to at the end of the year. I feel a tear already.

And finally, I think I shared a bit of this is a previous celebration. Here is a video of my school's middle school boys football team showing the world what it means to be a champion. I had several of these boys in kindergarten. Talk about needing a kleenex, go get one before you click the link.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Sometimes it still shocks me what my students do and say at writing workshop. Today we had a schedule that deviated from the norm. There were fire trucks for fire safety, a tornado get the picture. Among all the chaos we had to fit in writing workshop. I knew I would have to cut it a little short, mind you we are up to sometimes more than an hour when all is said and done. When I say cut it short, there is still lots of time. Anyway, one of my little boys had been planning away, had been working on his story diligently and I had to give a "five minute sign" warning. It was just about time for lunch. His response was priceless. You would have thought he lost his dog. Shoulders slumped, sad eyes, a pout, and to top it off a moan...picture it AaaaAAaaAAah!
I looked at him, kind of unsure why he was upset. I mean really, this was a bit over the top.
"Dylan, what is it?" I asked him.
"I wanted to keep writing," in the whiniest voice he could muster.
Then I think my face mirrored his a bit because I felt so sad that I had to tell him to stop soon. He kind of tossed his pencil in frustration and began to clean up. I wasn't going to mention he still had five minutes, he was at the point of no return. But I stood back a moment and felt proud. My kids really love this time of day. It is probably their favorite. They love it so much they would rather write than go to lunch. I call that a big WIN!