Ready or Not, Here They Come

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Ready or not.  That implies a choice, right?  But school starts tomorrow so I really don’t have one.

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to pretend I do have a choice, and I’m choosing ready.  This is part of my plan to be POSITIVE this year.  It would be easy to start complaining about not having everything ready, or about class sizes, or schedules, or something.  But no.  I am not going to give into the temptation.

In reality, I think I actually am ready (we’ll see about that though).  I’ve made my plans for the next week and copies for the next two days.

I’m especially excited about Friday.  Okay, excited might be a stretch, but I’m interested to see how my plans work out.

Kelly Gallagher has inspired me once again (Surprise!).  I am going to hand out a poem (“Scary, No Scary”) and we are going to read it several times.  Here is the assignment I am going to use.  I am going to have the kids read through and annotate the poem three separate times, and after each read they will write in the boxes on the second page how well they understood it.  On a scale of one to ten–one being I don’t understand a word and ten being I could teach this poem to a 2nd grader–how well do you understand it after each read?  Next, we will do a quick write (which Gallagher calls a “sneeze” and I kind of love, despite how disgusting it is).  I will give them three minutes or so to respond to the poem (I will be writing at the same time).  Again, we will mark our understanding.  Next we will discuss in our small groups of three.  And again, how well did we understand it?  Finally, we will have a class discussion about the poem and record our understanding one last time.  Then we can discuss how their understanding changed.  We recently followed these steps with a difficult blurb in a workshop with Gallagher two weeks ago.  I was amazed to see how much better my understanding was!  It was exciting and motivating, for sure.

I’m sure I’ll have a few people who see no improvement…or who just don’t read at all, but overall I hope they understand the importance of not giving up on a difficult text.  I can’t wait to see where the discussion goes both during the reading of the poem and in terms of reflection.

I’m also interested to see how they approach a difficult text, how they annotate, how they react.  And, it will set the tone on day two that we are going to work, we are going to struggle, we are going to try, we are going to grow.  Hopefully, because that’s my goal.  Finally, we will use the poem to talk about choosing “no scary”, approaching the things we do in this class as “no scary” (which will make more sense when you read the poem–maybe a few times).

In addition we will do a Color Inventory to find out more about their personalities.  I’m using this one which I found on the internet.  I’m going to have the kids get into groups with their similar colors to discuss and share what they think they have in common before we look at the official results.  I’m going to use these color results for grouping purposes for the rest of the year.

I’ll be back soon to let you know how all of this goes.  Ready or not!  Here we go!!

~Kristy

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