My teaching team and I started off the session by all chatting outside my classroom. Alissa, my three grade level partners, my principal, our literacy TOSA, and I all discussed how our students were doing with the workshop and where we were going to take them for the upcoming session. I expressed that the previous two lessons went well, but that the concept of memoir writing as opposed to recounting a moment in a narrative was tough for some students.
The lesson ahead of us was complicated. The teaching point was that writers need to write small about the biggest ideas/themes. If you're not familiar with this idea, I'll explain it a little further down. After our first two sessions, I was dying to see Alissa bring home this point to my students. And, bring it home she did!
|Alissa engaging students during the|
mini lesson with my principal, Anne, and
grade level partner, Jenn, taking notes
in the background. So powerful!
Once students started writing and conferring with each other, Alissa explained that we were going to focus on holding table conferences. A table conference is a mini lesson of sorts with a small group that is seated together. Alissa asked us to just watch four students sitting together write. We noticed that they all immediately started writing small. They truly internalized the point of the mini lesson. The four of them used dialogue, explained their internal thoughts, and attempted to bring the reader back to the moment they were remembering. Since all four were doing this, Alissa asked them to think about the big that the small was describing. The big in all this refers to the theme or idea. One student described a time working with a horse in the stable he often visits. It turns out that this small moment was leading to a big lesson about working together to accomplish a task. Through conversation and thoughtful questions, Alissa was able to help him identify the big and small of his memoir so far.
After the table conference with this group, Alissa immediately asked all of us teachers to find a group of students, observe their writing, think of a need they have in common, and then conduct a small table conference. Watching her do a table conference, discussing its components, then practicing it myself was priceless!
This was only a small part of our day with Alissa, but it was a huge part for me. I am anxious to see what tomorrow and Friday hold! Again, I feel so fortunate to be able to take part in professional development like this. I wish every teacher at every school had this learning opportunity.
|My teaching team watching Alissa work her TCRWP magic!|
|This student stated the big, "You need to be brave when trying something new." |
Then, she moved into the small to illustrate the big.
|This student is focusing on the small before the big is revealed.|
|This student is about to get to the big!|
|Two boys identifying and discussing their small and big writing.|
|Sharing at the end of the workshop. Students all shared with their|
writing partners before a few shared with the whole group. This
method is great as all students get to discuss their writing before
the big whole group share out.
|One student shares her piece in progress with the whole group.|