Summer is officially over. Well, actually, if you checked with our weather here in northern Indiana today, you would think it was still the middle of summer. The temperature is to get up to 95 today! Even with that facing me, I headed into school to meet the new fourth graders I will be working along side this year.
Amy introduced me and told the students I would be pulling up beside them this year and listening to their work. I would be offering suggestions or praise for what they were doing. One boy said, "Kind of like what you do, Mrs. Norton." Yes, he was right!
Today's lesson was; Writers wonder in a writing notebook. She asked them to think about: What do you day dream about? What haunts you? What memories or images keep swimming through your head? What is on your mind when you wake up? What questions stick with you? After reading a piece from Ralph Fletcher's A Writer's Notebook, they discussed the difference in observing and wondering. Next came the active engagement part of the lesson. They took out their notebooks and wrote: WONDER LIST on the top of a page. After a few minutes of writing, a few shared: dreams, questions--how do tortoises live without water?, What am I?
The choice for today's writing was: continue with the wonder list OR write 'off of' one of the wonderings, OR continue with the draft they had been working on.
I conferenced with three students:
Amelia was doing amazing work with comics. She has done lots of work in this genre. She has a family she writes about over and over. This comic was called: FISHING. This was not just a piece for her to use art, it had a point and lesson to it. (There is more to do than just watch t.v.)
Ava was working in her notebook. She came to me asking for some help to get focused. She had great ideas but kept getting off track. We decided it would be good to just make a list of the things going on in her head. She was working on the idea of snakes. Her list included what snakes did and what they looked like. After she completed her list, she was going to work on organizing the various subjects.
Tim was stuck. He had no idea what he was going to do in the notebook. After some discussion, he realized he liked to explore. He turned to a new page in his notebook and wrote EXPLORE on the top of a page. He was making a list of places he like to explore and things he had found while exploring. He will continue with that list tomorrow.
Next, it was time for the Author's Chair. Two children shared their work today. A boy shared what he had written about a scary dream he had. It was a great narrative using lots of action and dialog. A girl wrote about the first time she met a friend. Her plan is to have the friend write about it, too. Then they would combine their work into a book.
Great things going on in this classroom. I can't wait to see what these children do this year. I love to just sit back and watch a child process what they want to write.