Thank God It’s Friday!
It’s Friday afternoon. The parking lot is half empty. Some teachers and paras were rolling out of the school lot with the buses. I walked back to the building after doing my dismissal duty. My feet, in a pair of lilac-colored heeled Crocs, walked quickly back towards the building. I was ready for my weekend to begin.
Inside, the building was quiet. With the students gone, a calm settled over the hallway. Some teachers chatted with each other as others prepped their lessons for Monday. I considered prepping as well, but settled for writing Monday’s lesson objectives on the board and updated the agenda items. I wrote Monday’s date and placed some chairs on the desks. Some desks were full of trash. I left the garbage for the night custodian. I was too tired to finish up.
It has been a long week full of meetings during free periods and training after school. Every day I had been busy. I’ve been doing a lesson on Conformity to seemed to have gone over well with most of the students. There had been a lot of discussion around what Conformity looked like and examples of what Conformity wasn't. I was pleased with the student's grasp of the concept.
Today, I wanted to push the students to write more. After giving them some reading assignments in the first half of class, we did some writing assignments in the second half of class. I decided to drop the students into the deep end of the pool. I asked them to write about their personal experiences with conformity and asked for at least ten sentences Some students dove right in while others stayed in the shallow end, complaining about the length of the assignment.
I gave the students examples of how to expand their writing. I suggested times students had taken a stand on an issue, where it had happened, and what they had been said. I asked them to be descriptive with the issue, the place, and the words. This helped some students while others continued to complain. They claimed they had nothing to write about and that their lives weren't that interesting for ten sentences.
Again, I explained ways to reach the required sentences. I spoke more slowly and added new ideas (try your social media, sports team, or class). Finally, the grumbling stopped and the students dove into the deep end. I reflected on the assignment. Whiled some students were scribbling away, clearly ready, some students were not yet there on expanding their writing. Thus, a kernel of an idea began to form within me for Monday’s lesson.
I wanted students to expand their writing, but first, they must expand their vocabulary. In order to do that they must be exposed to more words in context. Students need the text in front of them that they can annotate and dissect. In addition, students benefit when their classmates share out on an activity. It gives them new ideas to consider and add to their own.
To move all of my students forward, I will need to take a step back. I recognize that more scaffolding is in order. To build the students’ writing stamina, by building their vocabulary. I will then use the vocabulary to have the students write more paragraphs about their personal experiences. Eventually, writing ten sentences will soon be not enough for most students.
For now, I’m going to enjoy my Friday. The evening approaches and I want to relax. My feet ache. My legs ache. My backaches. I need a good meal and a nap. My body could use a massage as well. Oh well. I’ll have to settle for rubbing my back against the door frame. Again.