April Showers

Has it really been a month (okay fine…almost 2) since our last post? Dang. 

Needless to say, things have been pretty crazy. We’ve been juggling curriculum, teaching, tackling the groundwork for making a district change to standards based grading, assessing our kids, planning, figuring out next year’s plan, “real” life outside of school…you know, the usual stuff. 

While I adore spring (at least, from what I remember I do…still not sure if it’s going to actually be a season this year…), it is also a fairly chaotic time of the year. The end of the year is so close, but there’s so much to do before that point. We’re busting it to make sure our plans are keeping our kids engaged and with us, while still hitting the standards we need to hit. That’s the one good thing about the crummy weather – this would be so much harder if it was sunshiny and beautiful outside. 

On our teacher work day back in January, we planned out the rest of this year. Or so we thought. While we did get a lot of it done, we wound up making some switches and modifications to things. Here’s what we’ve been up to, and what’s ahead for us and our crew:

  • February: nonfiction text features leading into a book club unit centered on historical fiction and nonfiction texts, which then led into the students’ research projects 
  • March: close reading and Socratic seminar
  • April: poetry (hooray for National Poetry Month!) with some writing skills snuck in (hello conclusions!)
  • May: argument writing
  • June: wrapping it up – the kids are done June 10

The biggest shift from our planning day came with our March/April plans. When we were planning February, we wound up accidentally condensing our unit before we had planned to. It all worked out okay, but that meant trying to figure out what in the world to do in March and April. After our dystopian unit earlier this year, we knew that we were going to take our kids to see Divergent. That, and a conversation we overheard amongst our students, sparked our March idea.

We practiced close reading with different lenses in preparation for doing a Socratic seminar. Of course, we also had to teach the seminar skills. The topic of the seminar? Comparing and contrasting Tris and Katniss. The kids did a fantastic job with it, and we’re excited to do more seminars in the future.

After pushing them pretty hard in February and March, and knowing we have spring break interrupting April, we were on the hunt for something fun that would let the kids be creative while still teaching them the concepts they need to know. Enter Jenny’s brilliant idea of National Poetry Month. We’re three days in, and the kids seem to be enjoying it. They were a little intimidated at first, but the comfort level is definitely increasing. It will be fun to see them grow in terms of their writing skills throughout the month.

And then…it will be off into argument! I’m excited, and I think our kids are going to LOVE it. They’re a pretty opinionated group. 🙂