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.