Wednesday, February 3, 2016

On Me

The first Wednesday of the month in our school district is reserved for countywide content area meetings, and so over the years I have attended roughly 175 middle school language arts gatherings. In an honest attempt to make the time valuable for the teachers who are required to attend, the department has tried many formats, but personally, I have forgotten most of the meetings.

I think that may be inevitable, but not necessarily negative, perhaps, in the way that although I don't really remember my own sixth grade year I continue to confidently teach legions of sixth graders. I'm pretty sure that whether they recall the specifics or not, our time together is well-spent because what I try to instill in them before they leave me is a desire to learn, the belief that they can, and a skill set they may use to do so.

Do our countywide meetings do the same for us? Not always, but today mine did. I attended a presentation by a Teacher Consultant from our local chapter of the National Writing Project. He led us through a session where we wrote poetry, outlined an opinion essay, and learned how to guide our students to collaborate to create standards-based rubrics that they can use to assess their own writing. It was awesome!

Ten years ago, I attended the Writing Project five-week summer institute, and it revitalized and refocused my teaching practice dramatically. My take away today? I need another such re-energizing experience.

Oh, and here's the zero draft of my poem, written in the style of Kwame Alexander in Crossover:

With my knees in the dirt
         WEEDING and SEEDing
                     mulching and feeding
Bees BUZZ and worms w        e
                                         i     l
                                          g g
Shoots !   green and grOW

SUN shines on long V      I      N     E      S
Fertilizing flowers to fruit

O! How my garden grows

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