Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Friday, June 3, 2016

Teacher Work Day Reflections

Today was my first teacher work day in many, many years. I had mixed emotions. On one hand, I was happy to be finishing up the school year. On the other hand, I felt the year ended too fast. I didn't feel prepared to see my students go. It felt as if everything was a dream and now I was waking up and wondering if it was true. Was it true that this was the best teaching I have ever done? Was it true that I had an outstanding year with a bunch of energetic and eager to learn students? Was it true that I saw great progress on all fronts?  Yes, yes, and yes again. I was not in a dream state after all. As I was straightening desks and throwing out unwanted copies of this and that, I kept thinking how I wanted to do so much more. I wanted to get some much footage of recital of their own poetry. I wanted to them to try out Camtasia a little more. I wanted to have them write their plays and have them act it out. Better yet, I wanted them to video tape their play and make their own video production. Didn't happen. I ran out of time.

I did, however, see them make many different Google Slide presentations, create their own blogs, create memes, make  Camtastia screencasts using a Power Point, produceNawmal videos, post to Edmodo, share documents on Google and collaborate on projects at home. Their writing and attention to detail became refined. They used so many tools making Google Slide presentations including including animations. They inserted photos, videos and other media in their blog posts and slides. From the Google Slides, they began to present to their classmates. They no longer read from their slides, but referred to them. They became confident speakers along the way and experts in their fields of study,  Wow! This was a great year. I guess we did have time for the important things.

This consequently is just the tip of the ice berg. They wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. They wrote reading responses, literary analysis, expository essay, memoirs, Google presentations, lists, quick writes, 11 Minute Essays, Kernel Essays, Science and Social Studies journaling, literacy letters, and book recommendations. Lots of writing, massive thinking!

They devoured close to 900 books of all types. They spent time ludic reading and taking time to talk about what they read. My students read graphic novels, poetry, expository text, biographies, fiction, memoirs, plays and literacy letters.  They even watched a video message from Jeff Anderson (author of Zack Delacruz-Me and My Big Mouth.) This was so much fun!

Am I happy that this school year is over? Not really. Somehow I wish I had one more year with this group. (I have some of them for summer school, so it isn't all that bad.) Now I will have to wait until August to see what adventures lie ahead for the next class. If it will be anything remotely like this year, it will be a total blast!

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