Today, I found by self covering a 5th grade class for about 90 minutes. Coverage was tight but I knew I could balance the coverage with I actually planned to do.
At 10:15, there I was with a 5th grade class ready to jump into Literacy work. We had what I call a Journal Break. We read a picture together to see and generate a story. We talked about mood. We set the tone that during this time, there would be no right or wrong – it was about exploring your own thinking in pictures and writing.
New to this class, I explained the Word of the Day and what it meant to copy and art card. I opened the door to sketching and drawing all in the name of thinking and idea finding that could lead to writing.
They voiced their choices and spread out to work quietly. I watched as they brought the word FLUTTER to life with their pictures and words. I watched as girls and boys copied art cards with oil pastel. I conferred as children worked. I wanted to know what they were thinking. I learned a lot in that time. I learned that Ava is a surfer. I learned that Anne takes vacations in Florida and Nantucket and the art card was a mix of the two places. I learned that Bobby can sit by himself with a blank journal page and explore what his mind has to offer. Although I was new, I felt like I belonged as I watched them work.
Our time came to an end and they wanted to share. We came together in a circle. “We are going to share, but first, I want to know what you discovered today during Journal Break.” Hands went up. I waited. More hands went up. They shared –
“Mrs. Sherriff told me what I did here. I used personification. I took a flower dying and made it talk “no one took care of me.”
“I just drew a picture. Then I started to think I can make a story about it. If you see something it probably has a story. Everything has a story” another classmate chimed in “you just have to find it.”
“I discovered how much I could write about ONE word!”
“I discovered that whatever you draw, it can come to life, you can imagine.”
“I discovered my mind can flutter with what if’s”
The power of letting kids discover and taking the time to ask them what they discover is valuable time. It’s one way to let them know they matter.