SOL17 DoodleaDay 14 Inspire Word Art

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Inspire

Involvement

Necessary;

Sprout

Partial

Ideas–

Render

Excellence

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Classrooms of inspiration live by student involvement, sprouting partial ideas, and working together to render excellence for projects that help make the world better — or maybe just make the classroom better.

That climate is rendered by a teacher willing to give students agency — the belief in student abilities to work out their own solutions. It’s a climate filled with creation rather than compliance.

Project-based, inquiry learning allows students to take control of the curriculum in ways that the standards and targets are met in different ways by different students, depending on how the students choose their path to solutions.  Good sources for project-based learning are found at the Buck Institute for Education [BIE]. For projects based on immigration: see here.

Another way to think about classroom curriculum is to create the environment for students to experience the learning targets and discuss their learning in a constructivist way. Seymour Papert explains this here. A simple way to say this is:

“The good way to learn is to use it now.” Seymour Papert

A basic example in the language arts class can occur for teaching simile. Read this book to students of any age: Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Woods. After enjoying the book, reread the text and discuss how the author uses word choice to create meaning. And discuss the format of the sentences using that word choice to create meaning. Students soon can write their own, explaining their comparison, meaning, word choice, and grammar [like/as] to create their vivid descriptions. Students use the book to use their own language to learn by doing, and then learn the name for this figurative language: simile.

Another way to inspire classroom climate and learning is to use music. I just discovered this from Amy Cody Clancy today which provides suggested music for different content and context: Songs To Use For History / Literature.

Another way to include music is to find music related to students’ lives. My teaching career lived in a Native American community, and we were lucky enough to have our own celebrity, the late Jim Boyd, Colville Tribal Chairman and role model for our students. He is so missed for his leadership, his community actions, and his music.

Here is one of my favorite songs [I think I have all of his music] — which can inspire many discussions and help build relationships.

My Heart Drops, But I’m Proud by the late Jim Boyd, Colville Tribal Chairman and musician

 

What inspires your life and work?

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today – Word Art

Doodling Song: My Heart Drops, But I’m Proud by the late Jim Boyd

Slice of Life Spring Break

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Real readers find a place to read that’s cozy so they can relax and immerse themselves in the world of their tale. During lessons, they’re antsy learning new skills and they’re distracted by their neighbors. But during self-chosen reading, they’re cozy wrapped up in the wanderings in their new worlds, pulled into the their characters and connecting  to the action and conversation. They’re excited to share the antics of characters as they solve their problems. Sharing time starts with a burst of babbling we tame to take turns sharing the tales: from dinosaurs to diaries, wizards to warriors, each student spins the story or information that surprises them and keeps them reading the next day.

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And during the short break during Chalk Doodle Granny Wacky Prize, we learn what’s really on their minds.

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So, grab a great read, find your cozy corner, and wander through a new world during your spring break!

Slice of Life Spring

Transitions

Moment Between Worlds

I left school on Friday and noticed the barren earth in the window wells, and remembered the summer look of overflowing color splashing the view. On Sunday, I hope to find some flowers to plant. I know they’ll probably freeze, but I want to make the splash happen sooner, to brighten the entry to our little world of writing. Even a little bit helps bring cheer, a moment to pause and say, “Welcome.”

 

Slice of Life Basketball

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It rules.

On the Rez, it rules.

Or, does it? What else rules on the Rez?

I heard some track stars racing outside my window, their coach encouraging their every step.

Yesterday, I heard laughter in Salish as the language students played a game to learn their ancestral language.

Laughter, that’s something I hear a lot in the halls and lunchroom, because laughter rules on the Rez.

Much of that laughter comes from retelling experiences — storytelling. That’s what really rules on the Rez.

Because everyone has a story to tell.

And  they can’t wait to tell it to you!

What’s your favorite story?

 

Slice of Life Silence

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Morning flew by along as many students continued to finish arguments [like this one] and personalized book reports based on student reading notes shared over the month in Google Forms. Some students worked on Keynote videos based on their social justice issues. Others reviewed make-up assignments. Students helped each other and asked questions related to their current task: argument warrants or concession/rebuttal; how to download their Google Slides as images for Keynote; how to review resources for figurative language. I love the sounds of workshop time: soft whispers asking for help and getting advice from peers, keyboards clicking, the ahhhs from sharing successes and techniques, focused silence for those reading, and discussion in my small group reviewing argumentative strategies. There’s a quiet hum that fluctuates between the calm of concentration and the chatter of collaboration, a wave of sound and energy in an ebb and flow of student agency.

It was a good morning, I thought, as I considered our successes during the final five minutes of noon break. I glanced across the empty desks reflecting the sunshine softly glowing through the window’s blinds.  They seemed to say, “Are they back yet?”

Riiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnggggggg!

Yes.

I stood to greet them.

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Writing Strategies:

Strong Verbs:  flew by, continued, reviewed, worked, helped, download, fluctuates, considered, glanced

Personification:  The desks seemed to say, “Are they back yet?”

Onomatopoeia:  Riiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnggggggg!

Slice of Life Cats

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In the morning, the cats are antsy. They don’t want us to leave. The black and white one meows incessantly, following my husband around where ever he wanders: starting the coffee pot, cutting the vegetables and fruit for our morning smoothie, fetching the paper. Stella follows around talking the whole time, sometimes running through his feet almost tripping him.

Our other cat, a tabby named Abby, watches the whole display and waits at the back slider, hoping to wander outside to check the messages the neighborhood cats have left, yet quickly ready to dart back inside if any of them are actually in our yard.

We deeply miss having our white lab Pooka around to chase away wandering neighborhood cats, especially Bad Cat, a ferrel black one with specks of grey, torn ears, scars, and one bad eye. Bad Cat terrorizes every one, and has survived the hottest and coldest of weather for probably five years now.  Neighbors have tried to trap him; others have scared him away with pellet guns. But that Bad Cat just keeps tramping through his neighborhood territory.

And, as I step outside this morning, there is the neighbor’s cat, Thunder: black as night and most definitely the spawn of Bad Cat. I leave the antics of my own cats to be greeted by the patiently waiting [and very soft] Thunder. I had to take a picture and pause to pet him before leaving as he sits on the steps waiting for attention.

Cats. They’re just there to help us slow down and enjoy small moments, because we don’t have nine lives.

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Writing Strategies

Strong verb forms: meows, following, cutting, fetching, watches, wats, waner, dart, chase, survived trap, scared, tramping

Description: a ferrel black one with specks of grey, torn ears, scars, and one bad eye.

Assonance:  tabby named Abby

Alliteration: [p] take a picture and pause to pet him