Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our Holiday Voice

Since the beginning of the year, I have been working with a fourth grade class on writing each Monday for couple of hours. It has been kind of fun and their teacher Christina Avirett is a true joy to work with. She has done a wonderful job building a learning community. It is Ms. Avirett’s first year in fourth grade and before teaching gifted I spent four or five years teaching fourth so it seemed like a good fit. If I were honest she would have done fine without me. She really is an amazing teacher. Anyway, due to a schedule change in the gifted program in January I will no longer be working with Ms. Avirett’s class on Monday. This makes me a little sad but, before I leave I thought I would report on one of my favorite writing activities that we worked on. Actually, it was an activity I used to do every year when I taught fourth grade. When I added it into my plans about ten years ago I did so, because I thought it was fun. Since then I have learned that it is good for teaching Voice, which is one of the Six Write Traits.

During my first couple of years as a teacher someone gave me a copy a book entitled Christmas in America, which was basically a book of photographs of people celebrating the season across the country. At first, I had no idea what I was going to do with the book, but the kids seem to like it so I kept it around. Then one year, I over heard students giving the people in the photographs dialogue and from there we just started writing those things out. Each year the students have a great time with the photographs and Ms. Avirett’s class was no exception. We have written all sorts of things like; thank you notes to Santa, email and plays. Yes, I did say we. I feel that to build a true writing community the teacher in the room needs to write along with his/her students. With that said, I thought I would include one of my writing samples from this activity.

Picture two guys dressed as Santa peering out of dirty subway windows.

“Santa’s Subway Rant”
There is something wrong with this picture. I mean really I have heard about our need to cut cost, but this is ridiculous. All we’ve heard up at the North Pole lately is productivity and profit. When it was mentioned that they were going to be cutting our travel budget I thought they meant letting a few reindeers and possibly a keeper or two go, but this is outrageous. I do not see how anyone could think this is productive or sanitary for that matter.

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