Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Into the Deep End

Regie Routman says, "I have never worked in a school or classroom where the expectations for students are too high."  Of course if Regie says it, I must agree, and from doing my own classroom research, I know she's right.  Year after year, I find that kids can do more than I ever thought they could.  Sometimes the only way to find out what they're capable of is to jump right into the deep end and know that most will happily follow me in.  I've found this to be true and over and over, especially in the area of writing.  

(Click on the picture to purchase Lucy's PDF.)

I recently posted about Lucy Calkins and her recommended units of study for first grade writers.  (See here.)  Based on her annually updated curricular plan which you see above, I recently started teaching a unit on realistic fiction.  (I love that her thinking shifts and changes just like the rest of us.)  This genre of writing is new for me as well as the kids.  Honestly, it can be a bit scary jumping into something foreign, but it would be quite unfair for my inhibitions to get in the way of their growth.  Amazingly enough, after only four days of instruction, they impressed me with how they were catching on.  They've got a ways to go, but the following pieces are proof that they just needed someone to invite them into the water so to speak.

Sally was walking to the library to retake a book back.  When she got there it was closed.  She did not know what to do.  Then she knew what to do.  She put it in the box.

One day alex was going to ride his bike.  He was practicing for a contest.  He messed up the bike.  It broke in pieces.  Alex said, "But someone can fix it."  So somebody fixed it up.  He really appreciated that.

One day Emily was getting ready for music practice, but she couldn't find her song book.  She looked under her bed.  No music book.  She looked in her music cupboard.  No music book.  She finally looked in her closet.  She found it, and she went to music practice.

Thanks again Lucy for pushing me into the deep end.  My writers and I thank you.

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  1. Great writing, Tammy! I love how you are willing to stretch your skills so that you can stretch your students and their skills!
    Conversations in Literacy

    1. Lori, you have it right. My kids won't be able to stretch their skills until I'm willing to stretch mine. I so appreciate you and your comments.

  2. Great writing :-)...I'm seeing more growth in writing this year, than in any previous year. I think it's because I spent the summer learning more about writing with kindergartners. (Wow, that sounded very simplistic and obvious! Of course they are doing more than before--I learned something new to pass along!)

    Lucy Caulkins is a superhero. hugs, Chrissy

    1. Chrissy, it does sound very simplistic and obvious, doesn't it? It's amazing how much "smarter" they can get when I figure out what I'm doing. :) Thank you for coming by today.

  3. The first sentence of your post reminded me... I expressed concern to my principal about my firsties having so much more difficulty tracking when they're reading,and following along on a page. She told me maybe I should lower my expectations. She should read this book.
    First Grade Found Me

    1. Chrissy, that probably wasn't what you were expecting to hear from your principal I bet. :) I've read the same thing about expectations from Donald Graves. I trust that both Donald and Regie are right about this.