Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaching in my Pajamas

Okay, Spot...you can stay home AGAIN today. The roads are icky and it's snowing like nobody's business out there!

About ten years ago, my teaching buddies and I used to joke about a day when we'd be able to 'mail-it-in' so to speak. I know, that sounds harsh, and believe me, I'm not that kind of teacher, you know that Spot! You're just so cute I have to have face-time with you!! But...

All this snow? It does nothing for continuity of instruction, consistency in learning and actual daily practice on your part, Spot. Take that little yellow ball sitting there on the floor alongside you. You're a master at the bounce-catch, the roll and toss and any other number of tricks. You have practiced for countless hours outside and inside the house. When you're obsessed about learning the learning happens. Perseverance, long term practice, that's what it takes.

So...right now, you and the rest of the doggies are all hooked up for bad weather. I'll be sitting here in my jammies, and no doubt you will too when that next huge storm rolls in. Last week, you were home researching on Expert Space, Grolier's online research program that is leveled to match any reader's needs. This week, it's CBAS, a computer-based writing program set up by the state of Connecticut allowing students extensive time in drafting and revising prompted writing, so you can challenge yourself in writing at home...or in school.

Why, Spot, would I the writer/writing teacher want you working in this formatted/timed way?
Well, writing is a personal process. In the classroom, we'll be working on longer, more detailed process writing. I do believe in the human hand in critiquing written work...it is the MOST important way to improve a kid's work. I know for sure, I've made the greatest improvement with input from my writing mentor, Patricia Reilly Giff and the six members of my critique group. But, as you know, I can't be there every minute of every day. Practicing and getting feedback in a more regular way will really help you to take a huge leap!

So, tomorrow, Spot? When the snow is piling up outside? You and I will be inside writing, and when you click 'submit', that feedback will come back to you in a blink of an eye!