As an instructor I have always had difficulty finding the descriptors to use when talking with students about productive group work, and only in the last few years have I gotten smart about it. I clearly hadn’t been thinking. Then, I began modeling and discussing productive group work indicators. Instructors want to honor students’ work as well as provide valuable feedback as students will be using these soft skills well beyond their secondary educations. Productive group work, though, becomes frustrating, difficult, and exhausting when group participants involve themselves on varying levels. This, too, has proven incredibly frustrating for me over course of my teaching career.
As with anything in our classrooms—any skill at all—from teaching students how to be respectful of property, to teaching students what to do when they enter the classroom—these are SKILLS to be taught. And to these ends, I have worked over the past few years to construct a feedback and evaluation system for my secondary classroom.
Visit ATELIER for this Week's Freebie, which includes the following:
I’ve always been a fan of the ten-minute paragraph. Okay! Okay! At the beginning of the school year, I begin with a 15-minute paragraph and then widdle down the time over the first few weeks. The ten-minute paragraph is amazing! And the ten-minute paragraph is amazing for all subject areas! It’s short. It forces writers to dive in--and right now! The task comes with an ending. And that’s the end. Done. These formative assessments take very little time to read, yet they can provide teachers with myriad data. Teachers can evaluate the skill(s) and/or content that they’ve just introduced, that students have recently practiced, that teachers are considering to assess summatively. Students become better thinkers and consequently better writers.
Consider the following:
For a longer discussion, check out this link from Edutopia.
Summer 2019 has brought me a great deal of time to reflect and contemplate. And I've been thinking: with the habits we’ve accrued throughout the 21st Century, I find myself consuming more and more from online sources. The physical aspects of enjoying a hand-held text have become more and more meaningful it seems as time goes on; the weight and texture and size and, yes, even the smell of ink and paper somehow add to the text’s meaning—to me. I am constantly receiving (and sending) links to resources, most of which are online.
Public libraries are now shared collectives (which of course brings wider-ranging benefits to broader audiences), and texts are readily available across entire states as digital magazines, e-books, and e-audiobooks. The act of checking out books from public libraries has become self-service. Patrons no longer fill out physical library cards. (I cannot remember doing so since elementary school.) Books put on reserve or requested from other libraries are tagged, shelved for pickup, and await self-checkout. Engagement with texts has become less and less communal.
Gone are the days of passing along books with notes to the next reader. Gone are the days of reading for extended periods of time before retiring for the night. We consume even more—but somehow less—in the 21st Century. Yet even if our daily lives consume us, a single poem can revive us, give us something to ponder as we go about our day. When we’ve exhausted our bodies, a single poem can transport us to sleep.
The reader of a poem need not be the poet or a skilled performer. According to Robert Pinsky, founder of the Favorite Poem Project, "One of the beautiful things about poetry is that the medium is the human body and its voice, but not necessarily the artist's body. When you say a poem aloud by William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson or Langston Hughes, your voice is the artist's medium." Contrary to popular belief, all sorts of people read poetry; the audience for poetry is not restricted to professors and students; and there are many people for whom particular poems have profound, personal meaning.
If you're looking for ways to engage your students with poetry, THIS WEEK'S FREEBIE is from Stacey Lloyd's arsenal. I've used her Poetry Analysis Worksheet many times, and it gets students talking in a classroom community! In general, Lloyd is one of my "go to's" when I need a new idea, and I hope you'll check out her work AND stop by The Cooperative Classroom on TPT for the 20% off Sale.
With these ideas in mind, I’m launching the Cross-Country Poetry Project, dedicated to celebrating and encouraging the role of poetry in our technology-filled daily lives.
When you receive a Poetry Packet, open the book and flip through the pages. Engage with a single poem. Read notes that others have added to the Collective Pocket inside the front cover (or save them until later). Sign your name on the library card. Find and read poems that interest you. Return to them and read them again. Make notes and leave them in the Collective Pocket. Pass it on. When the book has made its way through the many, many hands of diverse readers, put it in the postage-paid envelope and send it through the United States Postal Service to return home.
Talk to you soon,
If you feel inspired, assemble a Poetry Packet and pass it on. (Include a copy of these instructions.)