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Archive for February 8th, 2014

Discover. Play. Build.

Every week, Ruth Ayres encourages me to reflect and celebrate. She rounds up all the Celebration posts on her blog Discover. Play. Build.

In Ruth’s book Celebrating Writers, she also encourages teachers, like me, to reflect on our teaching of writing and to celebrate the writers themselves.

This week my students continued to work on their books. Yes, they are writing books. Their writing has convinced me more than ever that good readers make good writers. My best readers were undaunted by the word count requirement of 1,000-2,500 words. We came to this decision together, so it wasn’t just me telling them they had to write a lot. They were telling themselves, challenging themselves.

Today, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from Brooklyn’s book. (She is up to 2,270 words) I asked my students to select a nonfiction topic to integrate into their fiction story. Sixth grader Brooklyn wants to work with disabled when she grows up. She chose to write about a daughter of a physical therapist who has a crush on one of her mother’s patients. In this selection, she references two books she has read this year. It makes this teacher proud that Brooklyn’s reading and writing have come together and become an integral part of who she is becoming.

When I read, I disappear from our world and reappear in a new world. I never know what new world, but it depends on my book. Books are like a portal. I appear in a new world, but I am still on Earth. I am in a new world, which is the same world I have been on my whole life, with imaginary characters, that don’t seem imaginary. Reading always gives me something to think about, sometimes a lot to think about.

Looking at my bookshelf, I see the 15 books on the right side labeled “Read” and on the other side there are two books, Wonder by R.J Palacio and Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper. I have saved both of these books, because Mom told me that they were both about kids with a disorder of some sort. She said in Wonder I would be able to feel how other kids felt with everyday life and other people around them. Mom also told me that in Out of my Mind I could see how it feels to be trapped in a wheelchair with no strength or muscle to move you and no way to communicate and tell what you know.

On Wednesday, the world celebrated Digital Learning Day. I posted about the digital learning my students are using with their stories. One option for them was to make an Animoto book trailer for their Work in Progress. I am celebrating Animoto and how my students can not only become authors, but advertisers, too. Here is Brooklyn’s book trailer. Now, how many of you want to buy her book? If you have any suggestions for places to send a 6th grader’s 3,000 word story, please let me know in the comments.

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