Monday, February 24, 2014

A Day of Swimming in the Classroom, Not Just Treading Water

I walked into my classroom this morning feeling particularly hopeful.  Sitting here now looking back on this morning I don't think I could have identified then what it was, but something was different.

I just have to write about it!

I got through my first hour class, which is probably my least favorite to teach.  Anticipation of my next class rolled over me like waves onto the shore.  We are starting a unit on story elements and figurative language with special attention paid to Edgar Allen Poe.

I spent the entirety of my Sunday afternoon working on my lessons for my period 2/3 class this week.  Special attention was paid to today, reviewing simile and metaphor along with introducing alliteration, personification and onomatopoeias.  (By the way, that last word has been virtually impossible for me to spell until tonight.)

I found a great youtube video that is along the veins of a Schoolhouse Rock short.  It's two superheroes, one Simile the other Metaphor by The Bazillions:
Similes and metaphors are
similar but nothing more
than a comparison in different ways.

Similes use “like” or “as,
and metaphors need none of that.
They just say exactly what they want to say.

Then it was onto a video using clips from Disney movies to provide examples of figurative language, then onto Kahoot (look for more information soon!).  I "Fist of Five" the five types of FL we are working on.  I had students who were honest about where they were at.  Usually they want to be cool and not act like they are missing something.  

Fast forward to our rotations >>>

I have a student, who is not always on the ball, sitting next to me reading The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.  I am taking attendance on the computer when he stops, gets my attention and says, "Ms. Young, I think I found a metaphor in my book."  
"You did?  That's awesome D!  Can I see it?"

He points it out to me, and if gosh darn it all he found one!  The same kid who earlier was looking at me like I was crazy.  Now, today was just about identifying them, not figuring out what they mean.  That's next week.  But oh man, it was so great.

Then I had a student ask for more reading time, and he was reading a non-fiction book.  Let's keep in mind that I teach 6th graders with the attention span of a two year old in a toy store.  Short!  The next rotation a girl all but begged me to let her read more.

This doesn't happen.  It doesn't.

It was a day where I didn't feel like I was just treading water.  But I was swimming.  And my students were right there with me.

The class ended with me telling my students that we, District 6, won The Reading Games.  The cheers were great.  I am so proud of them.

Tomorrow it's donuts, juice (as their prize) and reading an adapted version of The Fall of the House of Usher.  

Did I mention that I got my second observation back today?  All "proficients."  For years 1-3, and I only needed to be proficient on 1 and 2.  

Was it a good day?  Darn right it was.  Was it perfect?  No.  Just ask the student who dropped books borrowed from my classroom in the hallway and walked away from them.  I was not a happy camper.

Today was the kind of day that reminds me why I do what I do.  

Why I spend 5 hours on a Sunday searching, organizing and crafting lessons.  
Why I get to work almost 45 minutes before I need to be there and stay late.  
Why I spend time grading various assignments and recorded readings.  
Why I spend my disposable income on new books for the classroom.
Why I decided to go back and get a reading license, not just for the job, but for the students.
Why I push books into the hands and backpacks of students when they leave.
Why I spend 7 hours a day, 5 days a week dealing with students who are 11 and 12 going on 16.

Why I am a teacher.

Remember that many things in life can wait,
but taking the time to acknowledge the good days, 
remembering why you do what you do,
and The Sunset Won't.

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