This morning I stepped into the 5th grade room during arrival to make sure everything was going smoothly. The fifth grade teacher was in a meeting, the 6th grade teacher was greeting, the 7th grade teacher was returning a phone call to a parent, and I was trying to make sure things stayed calm in all four middle school classrooms (thank God for small classes)!
"Mrs. Stotz! I just killed C!" J happily told me as he sat calmly in his seat.
"What??" I looked at C who was sprawled across his binder at his seat.
"I told him I love writing!" J said cheerfully. M, sitting next to him, looked up from her own writing with a big grin.
"J! That makes me so happy to hear- it's like Tinkerbell and the clapping. I get stronger and stronger each time a student says they love writing."
My 7th graders came into class and saw that we were doing another writing lesson on voice today. "Mrs. Stotz? Are we ever going to stop learning about voice?"
"Nope. You'll be learning about voice the rest of your lives."
"Even on our death bed?"
"Yes. Even on your death bed, because you'll be thinking about what tone you want to use as you say your last words."
We then went on to do a very fun R.A.F.T.S. writing assignment where they wrote letters to themselves from their school bags complaining about the cruel treatment they were currently undergoing. It was so good to laugh with them and to celebrate good writing.
One of my 7th graders was excited to tell me all about the Nook that her mother just bought her. As soon as she got into class, she told me some of the features and how excited she was that her mom got it for her. As the kids were leaving at the end of workshop, 90 minutes later, she excitedly told me how she was going to be able to borrow e-books from the library and many other features of her new e-reader. It was so much fun to see her excited about books-in any form! And when I told her she could bring it in to school to use, her eyes grew huge. "Really? Cool!"
Of course there was a "No fair!" from her classmate who is a gadget kid and wants an e-reader.
My 8th graders are doing NaNoWriMo. This is our second year. I did it with them last year as 7th graders. It is so much fun to see them hunkered down with their notebooks scribbling away and getting excited over word counts. There are some great books being produced in my room. Each time I see R. she tells me how many more pages she has completed: she's writing a graphic novel- the story and the drawings. Another student is writing a novel that combines prose and songs. She's new this year and was nervous about doing NaNo. I was nervous for her, not sure how she would take the whole challenge. She's been doing great! She's got a great idea and is writing a lot.
As we were hanging out in my room waiting for the dismissal bell, my new student and I were talking. I commented that I was already running out of room on the bookshelves as I tried to squeeze The Red Pyramid (copy 1, I have 2 copies because it was so popular- this is actually the first time since getting the books that it has been on the shelf) on to the shelf.
"You have a lot of good books. Not like my teachers at my old school. They were all boring and they didn't have many. That's why I didn't really like reading."
"Thank you. I try really hard to find books that everybody will like. You're reading a lot more, how many books have you finished in the two months since school started? Five?"
Her face lit up. "Yeah!"
I love moments like these.