Day 1 #SOL18 Challenge

db4de-slice-of-life_individualYesterday while I was teaching Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Burning the New Year” in 7th grade there was lots of writing but no talking. Some teachers maybe would enjoy this format but I often like the conversation that accompanies reading and writing instruction.

The students read the poem silently first and wrote a sentence about what they thought the message was. Then I read the poem aloud and they wrote another thought. Some of them changed between the individual reading and the read aloud.

I had them read the poem a third time and mark two lines that jumped out to them. I had them choose one and then use it as a springboard for a 3-minute quick write. There were 2 rules:

  1. You must keep writing the entire 3 minutes.
  2. The writing had to be connected to the line that was lifted in some way.

This class is quiet and does not share as a rule described by the regular teacher. I had looked over the shoulders of several students as a check for understanding and the students were on target.

I collected the work and then walked down the hall to my office reading the whole way.

I was amazed at the insightful writing. I was so moved by some of the thoughts of students that I went back down to the teacher and told her how proud of her kids I was.

It is a simple reminder to me that just as Susan Cain says, the loudest person is not always the one with the best ideas.

I look forward to working with this class again soon.

I also have to remember for myself today that maybe I should be more quiet and write more than talk!


5 thoughts on “Day 1 #SOL18 Challenge

  1. Isn’t it wonderful when students surprise us! I need to look up this poem and see how I could use it too.


  2. First, thanks for the poem suggestion. Now I need to find it and read it. Second, I think children are so much more insightful than we often give them credit for. All it takes is a powerful, connective piece of writing to spur their reflection.


  3. TAMMY! This post — everything about it makes my heart happy. You teaching. Your learning. And kids reading Naomi Shihab Nye. Can’t wait to hug you soon. Maybe we can slice together on March 13?!

    Liked by 1 person

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