I’ve made it to the number eleven. Eleven is the first two-digit palindrome, you know. So is my room number in the new school, 212. So that’s exciting.
It was an odd week for Reading and Writing Workshop. Very modified, and then the early release conference schedule started, and things got even more messed up.
At the beginning of the week, I co-opted a large chunk of workshop to use for preparation for student led conferences, which started on Thursday. We had to make sure we had enough time to prepare, so I didn’t do Reading Workshop minilessons and didn’t do Writing Workshop at all. We had independent reading time, with me conferring, and then worked on our conference prep (which involved a lot of writing and thinking and planning and reflecting).
Once conferences started, I started up Writing Workshop again. I want to finish the first Unit of Study before Thanksgiving, so we can get right into the next thing during those three weeks before Winter Break. We’re on schedule to do so. This last section of Calkins is about independent writing projects, and how you can use your own writing, the books we read, and more, as “teachers” when you write independently. It fit right in with the reflecting we were doing for our conferences.
Though we weren’t doing reading workshop, I took advantage of the early release schedule to read The Real Boy for 30 minutes a day, instead of 10. Important not just because it is a wonderful book, but because the Calkins Reading unit we’ll dive into after Thanksgiving is about characters, and I wanted to get a little farther into the book, so the class can really know Callie, as well as Oscar.
I’ve been encouraged by my first 12 students’ conferences–they are thinking carefully about what they need to work on most. I told them, “If you don’t bring it up, I will,” and I think a lot of them decided that things were better coming from them. I was worried we wouldn’t be prepared enough, but things have gone smoothly so far. Some of the tough ones still to come, so we’ll see.
So smoothly, in fact, that I feel like I want to reward them with my annual day-before-Thanksgiving pajama readathon. I have never not done this, and I’ve talked a lot with the class about how on the edge we are. I cannot allow it if we can’t read independently for 20 minutes–how would we handle two hours? But our independent reading has been better, and the conferences have been such a pleasant surprise, that I want to do it. I’ll let them know on Monday, but I’ll also let them know that they can certainly change my mind with their choices during the first two days of the week.
It has been encouraging. Having them for only half a day makes for a generally easier time, though I do try to cram a lot in. I’m ready for four days off, and ready to dig into new writing, and ready to explore the characters we know so well (and learn new things about them!).
I’m glad you’re with me.