Slice of Life Tuesday: The puzzle comes together

Red Kayak 1 Red Kayak 2 Red Kayak 3

November is here and the end of our first marking period is just around the corner. Most every piece of our sixth grade life in Room 202 has found it place; like a complicated and unruly jigsaw puzzle, we have come together to create some semblance of a clear image – a class at work.

Today, my kids are all over the classroom and have spilled out into the hallway. They are working on the “Red Kayak Project” which ties together all the reading and thinking strategies we’ve been working on since the first day of school, and through our first class read aloud: the story map, Notice and Note signposts, character development, building theories, theme…

This is one of my  favorite class projects, mostly because it’s when I first get a glimpse of the amazing growth I will see in my sixth graders in the months to come.  In these conversations, are the sparks of future thinking about reading, about how a literary community looks like and sounds like, about how we will work together to build new learning.  I hear echoes of our mini lessons and conferences and class discussions in my students’ conversations.  I have wondered and worried about “are they getting it?” and “are we really doing anything meaningful yet?” – but,not any more.

The classroom is a mess, and this, too, is a harbinger of times to come. Learning is messy.  But, there is a purposefulness to the mess, and I love the way my kids check in with each other and me to clarify or sound out new ideas. Oh, yes, it is loud, too.

Our windows are open to let unseasonably warm November breezes in.

The Nabisco factory way down the road is baking cookies, Nilla Wafers we think.

We are together. We are at work. Life is good.

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: The puzzle comes together

  1. I love the way you describe the class as a jigsaw puzzle. So true, all the little pieces are there waiting to be assembled into a masterpiece. That’s where you, the magician, steps in and orchestrates the powerful learning. I want to come watch you weave your magic someday.

  2. Tara, I feel like I write the same comment on every single one of your Slices. Alas, I’ll say it again. I wish I could be a student in your classroom. Or at least send my daughters to you.

  3. “there is a purposefulness to the mess” – so true. It was lovely read about the learning community in sixth grade using what they have learned from the start of the school – making meaning, creating, supporting each other.

  4. 3 cheers for the mess!
    The classroom is a mess, and this, too, is a harbinger of times to come. Learning is messy. But, there is a purposefulness to the mess, and I love the way my kids check in with each other and me to clarify or sound out new ideas. Oh, yes, it is loud, too.

  5. I’d love to hear more about the red kayak project. So cool when you see all the pieces of the puzzle come together out of the messiness. I think it’s time to change my blog header, too. If only it would stop raining…

  6. Ah yes, it’s messy. That’s where the treasures lie. I’ve been having conversations with a new teacher about trusting the mess. Good teaching is messy and takes us in many directions. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Your post makes me want to be back in the classroom. Loved clicking on the kayak to see the details. At book club today, I kept referring to the signposts. Sigh – some of the students don’t know them (some of our teachers don’t do them). They are such a powerful way to talk about books. And the book Reading Nonfiction arrived in the mail today – hurray!

Thank you for reading my blog! Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s