Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Slice of Life Tuesday: December Haiku-A-Day Challenge

Writing Haiku is among my favorite forms of writing. I like the manageability of creating a piece with only three lines. I like the focus of a small topic or moment. I like tapping the rhythm of syllables against my leg as I pen lines. I like playing with the order of words. Five. Seven. Five.  Haiku shows up all over my writer's notebook, often after I have written about that day's gratitude. 

The past two Decembers I committed to writing a Haiku-a-day and exchanged it with a friend. I wrote about this experience in this post

Last night, as I was thinking about my experience of writing Haiku in past Decembers, I wrote this in my writer's notebook:

December chaos
ahead - Haiku slows me. Seek
reflective moments.

In continuation of my Haiku-a-day December challenge, this year I plan to post a Haiku-a-day on my blog. I would love for other bloggers to join me. I would love to be inspired by your daily Haiku! 

The challenge: write one Haiku-a-day in the month of December. Post it on your blog. 

Will you join me in this writing endeavor? 

Join me in sharing a slice of my life with Two Writing Teachers
All writers are welcome! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Slice of Life Tuesday: Conferring Win

"Reading is oxygen for a student's future success." 
Penny Kittle from Book Love (Heinemann, 2012) 

I was conferring with one of my high school seniors yesterday. Typically I begin with a question like, how's it going or what's worth talking about? or a comment such as, tell me a bit about what you are reading

When I sat down to confer with *Alma, I wanted to emphasize that I noticed that she had read several books this year and not because she was abandoning book after book. She consistently seemed engaged in what she was reading! 

"Did I see that you just began your fourth book?" I quietly asked Alma as we sat down.

Alma gave me a huge grin as she shared the titles that she has read since school began, including: Living Dead GirlThe Secret Life of Sonia Rodriguez, and Someone Like You.

"Have you always been an avid reader?" I asked.

"What do you mean? Avid?" Alma asked.

"Avid means you read a lot." I responded.

Alma smiled and added, "Haha. Nope. This is the most that I have ever read! Like in my life. I can't remember the last time I read a book. I used to hate reading. Now I read at home. Instead of binge watching on Netflix or scrolling on my phone. My mom even wanted to know what I was reading."

It was my turn to grin. 

"What do you think made the difference?" I inquired.

"I think that I actually care about what I am reading. I think about what I want to read."

"Are you surprised at this difference?"

"Yeah. I didn't know that I liked to read." 

Until we had this conversation, I had no idea how much she used to hate reading. She marked on an interest survey at the beginning of the year that she believed she was a nonreader, but I didn't know to what extent. I couldn't help thinking that until this year, she had probably given up on herself as a reader. Did she feel that her former teachers gave up on her as a reader? 

Now, in the first semester of her senior year, Alma reads at school and at home for the first time in years. Maybe ever. She even cares about the books she reads.




This conversation boosted my mood all day. It made me feel like providing the time for independent reading, sharing book talks, spending way too much money on my classroom library, and taking the time to confer has made a difference for students like Alma. 

But, if I am really honest, these amazing conferring conversations don't happen every day. Sometimes conferring is really hard. Sometimes I find that conferring conversations are awkward, and I need to remind myself to listen better to my students. It's November and I still have a handful of students in each class who still have not found the right book yet. These are the students who abandon book after book. These are the students who are still fake reading. These are the students that really stretch me as a teacher. 

Part of my professional learning this year is focused on conferring. I am still learning about how to have better, more productive conversations with my students - especially my students who have not seen the value in reading yet. I am revisiting and studying professional books such as Book Love and Conferring: The Cornerstone of Reader's Workshop

I still have a lot to learn. 

*Alma is a pseudonym 

Join the Two Writing Teachers Community and share your Slice of Life today! Everyone is welcome! 

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