In the life a curriculum coach, today was a magical day!
Two of the teachers I work with had agreed to try out a new Unit of Study for Poetry in both Readers and Writer’s Workshop. While they are both using Calkins’ Units of Study in Writer’s Workshop for the second year, reading instruction has been a harder challenge for the grade level. I had given them a three week unit of reading and writing study based on one from the DPS website that starts by really immersing the students in poetry.
Not only did a child’s poem give me goosebumps when it was read aloud (he wrote a poem for two voices), but I about cried when one of the teachers shared with me the poem she was inspired to write for her grandmothers using the techniques she’s learned from teaching the unit so far. How amazing is that? Writing Workshop really does allow all participants to grow in ways that can’t even be anticipated some days.
Some of their comments I would have paid money to have on tape (Since I didn’t have a recorder I am paraphrasing from memory as best I can) for this blog:
“I’m amazed at how much more capable my students are than I realized. I didn’t realize how much we stifled them by only teaching them certain forms before. ”
“I keep talking about this unit all the time. I’m doing some of the best teaching I’ve ever done!”
“I am so much more involved in my students’ writing. I can hardly wait to meet with them to see the progress they’ve made from day to day.”
“The kids told me it’s the first time they’ve like poetry.”
“Even my most struggling student has been able to be successful. He’s shared in discussions and written an amazing poem for his mom.”
“The ninety minutes absolutely fly by!’
“You will love teaching this unit.”
After a week of slow boulder rolling up a steep mountain, it felt great to hear their comments today!
They are also reading aloud Love That Dog by Sharon Creech and feel it is a great tie-in as the boy experiences poetry writing as well.
If you’d are a fourth grade teacher and would like to try the poetry UOS, leave me a comment with your e-mail and I’ll send you a link.