It’s getting close to the end of term and I have just collected the two classes of poetry anthologies that my students have written. With all the reflection that went into the process - the negotiating the assessment criteria, the blogging, and maybe just because it was poetry, the students found it hard to submit them, hard to let go of them, to say they were finished. So much work went into them, and more than one student asked me to assess it then and there. They were so proud of them. A few students wanted to point out different features of their anthologies so I wouldn’t miss them. I just felt - wow! I have not had a reaction to an assessment task like this before. I know that reading the poems will be a moving experience as I have seen many of the poems in progress, have commented on their development, and read about their genesis in the student blogs. Part of their assessment was to write a statement about the inspiration of their poems and from what I have seen so far I think this will be a moving read as well.
So what to do now until the end of term? I don’t want to start anything major, so I have been doing something I call working on their writer’s toolbox (soppy, I know). For this we have revised some rules of spelling, and today we did an activity I found on the Teacher’s Lounge site on Greek and Latin root words. After they deduced the meanings of four root words used as prefixes or suffixes, such as anti, bio, ology, neo etc., students chose one to make either a PowerPoint slide of or a poster. I wanted them to be able to flesh out the concept of the root word. This was a buzz. Students became interested in talking about words and some stayed talking after the bell went. And people wonder why I love teaching?
Next term I have a couple of ideas for writing. One is from Working Blue, an exercise to help a writer begin connecting. The writer starts with a historical fragment about a place they know well and then goes on to develop a mythological account of some detail about the place, then a personal account inspired by a detail about the place. It sounds fascinating. Another idea is called Personal Best. In this case the writer chooses a subject they have always wanted to find out more about and researches it in detail before writing an informative or persuasive piece on it.
Previously I wrote about the writing competitions that some of the students are entering. Today they came and gave me their finished stories and poems for the competitions. There are two main ones that the students want to enter – the Oz Kids in Print and the Eastern Regional Libraries Short Story Competition. We’ll see how we go.