Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One of Those Teaching Days

Here's my slice of life for Two Writing Teachers today.  Please stop by and join us!

I love teaching days like today! (Can't believe I'm saying this about a Monday!!) Those days where all the exact pieces of the puzzle fall into place for a great where the students are actively engaged, moving, participating and learning. The kind of lesson where I, the teacher, get out of their way as they learn. 

We're reviewing figurative language. Today was similes and metaphors. This is nothing new, but in sixth grade my challenge is to extend the metaphors and similes to be meaningful and to make their writing better. Working in groups, the students made lists of similes and metaphors about reading. They recorded any and all similes and metaphors their group suggested. I heard things like, "No, that's not a simile. There's no comparison." And, "Why are you comparing it to a picnic table? What do they have in common?" Listening to the conversations inspired me and made me so incredibly proud!

Once they created their lists, each group shared out their prized simile or metaphor. They typed it on the promethean board. I took the six lines and showed them what I could do with them. I revised them. Rearranged. Deleted. Added words and made their ideas my own and turned them into a poem. Here's one attempt...

Their challenge was next. "It's your turn now."

I'm in awe! The quickly written first draft poems contain brilliant, funny, creative examples of figurative language. They challenged me to write a poem about reading where I address the negatives of reading. I tried. Here it is... 

(Following the lead of Penny Kittle, I wrote this draft in front of them, while they were writing. That's something new I do this year which is amazing and scary and hard and necessary! Students love to see me struggle with my words and ideas too. It's real and authentic. They told me that they like to see me writing because it helps them when they are writing.)

More importantly, read these...

I had to remind myself that it's still September. My students have many drafts written in their notebooks. I love that we leapt, with both feet, into writing workshop! It's already amazing! I'd love to hear about one of those moments in your teaching life in the comments!


  1. Okay, this is teriffic! I love the way you naturally entwined reading and writing workshop! I have to say, I'm stealing this shamelessly :)

  2. I love this lesson and the results are awesome, both from you and the kids. They really get the idea of metaphors and similes and how to build a poem with them. Mind if I steal this? Writing with the students is so important. I enlist their help often.

    1. I'd be honored if you used this! It was so much fun!!!! Thanks for your kind words!

  3. You have a reason to be bursting with joy and pride. What a beautiful lesson. Everything about it is perfect. A lesson to steal for sure. It shows so much about your students and you.

  4. Fantastic lesson! I bet the students spent the day buzzing with metaphors and similes. It is so good for them to see us write,too. It makes it more real.

  5. What a fantastic lesson! If I were still teaching I would steal it. I will file it away to share with some friends when I see them. Don't you just love those days when everything just falls into place?

  6. Great idea...I love the way your kids responded to this challenge!

  7. Your students have such powerful things to say about reading - Wow! It must have made you smile to read their thoughts and know that they are truly readers. So glad you had a wonderful day.

  8. Good work, class! I love hearing about your great days at school!


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