Monday, February 9, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

We have been working so hard over the last couple of weeks, it seems I have lost track of time! We began the month of January working on All About Books. Last year when I introduced this unit of study my students were not ready for it and so I tabled it until I felt they were. This year, with prior knowledge with this genre, they were very excited about beginning the work of nonfiction. I added a a conclusion page this year to my books because I wanted to scaffold their learning for third grade. My students walked away knowing several things:
-an introduction page is a lead, it leads your reader to want to read your writing.
-a conclusion page helps wrap things up, and it again leads you back to the topic at hand.
-celebrations are fun, and they mean a lot in a community.
We celebrated after Muffins with Moms last Friday. This is an all school event where we invite the mothers in to school to say "thanks," and offer a chance for us to meet and greet them. My open house for our All About Books was directly after that event. What I find most amazing was my students behavior as they entered the classroom that morning. We had not discussed at length what they were supposed to do when they came in that morning. However, when they entered the room they immediately began to unpack, pick up books, read them, make positive comments on their comment page. There was a quiet hushed tone throughout the room, they were doing everything that I expected but didn't state.
I asked reflectively later: What made them know what to do? What triggers in my environment told them to do these things? How did the excitement of reading others' words create this reaction?
Later, at the close of our day we watched a celebration video that I had made last year after our celebration, and we watched a collection of photos that I have taken over the course of our time together. It was an act of togetherness, there was silence as their emotions took it all in...
"Mrs. Amick, these pictures sure bring back fond memories!" said one of my boys.