Even though the calendar says it’s late April, my mind is already on to summer. I’m already thinking about summer PD I’ve scheduled, extra time to read books for enjoyment, afternoons by the pool, and a week at the beach. However, even though my mind is already in summer mode, my mind is still focused on the important work that is happening in classrooms.
I was one of those oddballs who believed in teaching until the very end. And by the end, I mean the bitter end. My students’ had reading and writing celebrations on the second-to-last day of school. On the final day of the school year, we packed up, watched a movie, and had a little party. (It was the only movie we watched all year, every year.) Back when I was teaching, and even more so now that I’m a parent and a literacy consultant, I believe that the day we start packing up our classrooms, sending home student work, and veering away from academics is the day we lose our students’ attention. Whether or not we say it, we are communicating a message loud and clear: your work here is done.
May and June are critical months for us to capitalize on as teachers of writing. We’ve taught our students skills and strategies all year long. While we can still teach new units of study during the final weeks of school, we can always help students look back on where they’ve been so we can help them move forward before they head off on summer vacation and to the next grade.
This week, we’ll help you think about ways to reflect on the school year that’s ending and to help you think about ways to move your students forward during the final months of the school year. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect from this week’s blog series.
Later today, Beth will get you thinking about ways to teach students to self-reflect, self-assess, and set meaningful goals. On Monday, Kathleen will talk about ways — from a classroom teacher’s perspective — to maximize writing opportunities during the final jam-packed months of school. On Tuesday, Kelsey (our new co-author) will share ideas for revitalizing writing workshop with joy through independent writing projects. On Wednesday, Betsy will share strategies that take students still in the tinkering stage of revision toward fuller integration of large and small revisions to move them into the final months of the year. On Thursday, Lanny will help us think about how we can help students reflect through the lens of the writing process. On Friday, Melanie will provide you with ideas to celebrate process, growth, and achievement of goals. On Saturday, Deb will talk about providing feedback that will move your writers forward markedly. Next Sunday, I will share a piece about end-of-the-year letters we can ask students to write to us so as to help us grow as educators.
Please join us on Monday, May 7th at 8:30 p.m. EDT for a Twitter Chat about this blog series.
Each time we host a quarterly blog series, we like to pair it with a book to get our blog readers thinking about a topic. This week, I’m delighted the co-author team has selected a book about reflective practice that’s near and dear to my heart. Thanks to the generosity of Stenhouse Publishers, we’ll be giving away two copies of Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice. One copy will be given away at random to anyone who comments on one or more of our blog series posts this week. The other copy will be given away to our Twitter Chat participants on May 7th.
We look forward to engaging with you — through the comments section in each of our blog posts and on Twitter next Monday night — about looking back and moving forward as teachers of writers.
Finally, many thanks to Larkin Meehan for creating our beautiful blog series image. She took the vision we had for the series and turned it into something of which we are quite fond!