This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge! It's not too late to join in or comment or just read... Many of my posts will be at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but the posts that relate explicitly to learning will be on both blogs.
Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of taking the time to slow down and process the learning that is happening. In one of the third-grade classes that I work in, I asked the students to do just that.
"Before you go to your writing, I want you to just sit and reflect for a moment on the lesson you just experienced," I said. "You have a chart in front of you, as well as some work that you did in the last ten minutes. What did you learn? Consciously think about what you learned."
We did not ask the students to share their learning which surprised them. They are used to raising their hands and giving an answer. Instead, I told them to just take their learning with them to their work. Their classroom teacher gave students who wanted them Post-its so that they could write down their learning. I kept some of the responses and the different take-aways fascinate me:
This third response is a great example of one that worries me. Where did the concept of character traits sneak in during an opinion writing lesson? This child's response gives me a clear shout-out to clarify the different types of writing and different purposes to keep in mind. I will make sure to circle back to her and try to clear up the confusion that may exist for her. Without her reflective Post-it, I wonder how long she would have written her piece and how she would have gone about structuring it.
Walking around and reading their opinion writing early on in the unit, I was
- We have charts, checklists, modeled pieces, a strong purpose, and showing pieces (their term for mentor texts).
- Also, we can take all that we learned in the information unit and use it in this one.
- We know what the fourth grade standards are so we can set goals.
- We are writing what we know a lot about.
I'm not kidding.
Thank you, Maggie, for the reminder to take the time to think, really think, about the learning, and to remember to foster this important habit of mind.