A Magical Experience

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There is something special, almost magical, when someone takes the time to read your work and leave a specific comment.  I have witnessed this magic every time my learners log on to their blog pages and see that other students or teachers have made positive comments that speak to the posts’ content or the writing.  The scenario looks a little something like this:

“Mrs. V.! Look.  Hurry!”

“What is it?” I ask excitedly.

“A student (or teacher) from Barcelona, Spain (or any number of other places) left a comment on my blog post!  You have to look at it!”

“I’d love to!”  I excitedly read the comment and ask, “What do you think about that? What do you think you will write in reply?”

Then I listen as the students tell me what they think are appropriate comments.  Afterwards, they scurry back to where they are working and get to the task of writing replies.   They are so careful with their own comments and replies as they revise and edit to ensure they are writing clearly and making as few mistakes as possible.  It is quite magical to watch, really, and it affirms my belief in having authentic audiences outside of the classroom.

I appreciate opportunities, such as the Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge, that provide these rich experiences.  My students are immersed in the magical world of writing, and I know the memories of these experiences will last a lifetime.

With a Grateful Heart #SOL19

“Should I really do this?” I questioned as I pasted the link to my first ever slice into the comments of the Day 1 Slice of Life Story Challenge.  Unknown territory, I was nervous about committing to a month of daily slicing.  Thanks to my Teach Write friends in our amazing Wednesday night writing group, though, I was encouraged to try.  So I did.

Now, thirty-one days later, I am so glad that I went through with it.  I have sliced every single day and enjoyed reading and commenting on other slices.  I have learned so much about writing from your slices and comments, and I have discovered new things about myself as a writer.  It is one thing to write daily, but it is quite another thing to commit to sharing my writing publicly every day.  This experience has helped me grow in ways I did not expect.  I am grateful.

So, thank you for reading and offering your comments, encouragement, and support.  Thanks, also, to all of the people at the Two Writing Teachers for hosting such a challenge.  I appreciate all of you and look forward to reading, writing, and learning beside you on Tuesdays.

A Bright and Hopeful Future #SOL19

The excited hum of voices carried down the hallway from the cafeteria.  Fifth graders excitedly set up their posters, tri-fold boards, slideshows, and brochures and waited.  Nervous energy coursed through the room as they stood by their displays and looked for the first classes to enter the cafeteria.  They did not have to wait long.

Their first grade friends filed in, eyes wide as they looked around at all of the colorful items situated around the room.  As they approached the various exhibits, the fifth graders flew into action, answering questions and explaining their choices about careers and colleges.

Over the next hour, kindergartners through fourth graders visited.  They couldn’t wait to hear everything the older students had to say.  They left as wide-eyed as they entered, chattering about the time when they will be old enough to do this, too.

The fifth graders finished strong and returned to their classrooms.  They were exhausted but happy.  This process began with a visit to a local college two weeks ago and culminated in a presentation for the entire school.  The learning that occurred for them goes much deeper, though.  They have started seriously considering their options for the future and the skills they’ll need to be successful in whatever they choose to do.  They inspire me and give me hope for the future.

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We Did It! #SOL19

“Do you think it’s really ready, Mrs. V.?” a student timidly asked during my extracurricular newspaper club.

“I do,” I responded with that glint in my eye that my students have come to equate with keeping one foot on solid ground while stepping the other into the vast unknown.  A couple of the fifth graders groaned, like Arnold from The Magic School Bus, but most had the same glint in their eyes as my cursor hovered over the “Share” button.  “This is the moment that we have been working toward.  You have worked hard, your newspaper looks great, and now it’s publication time!”

The cursor hovered a moment longer.

“Do it!” they excitedly shouted.  I clicked the button, we selected our target audience, and chose how we wanted them to interact with the paper.  I included a message about sending my news reporters some positive vibes and then we clicked “Done.”  The dialogue box disappeared and the students cheered excitedly.  They were officially published journalists.

We celebrated with high fives and brownies, and then they all returned to their computers to draft their articles for the next issue.   They appeared to have more confidence as they returned to their work, and they wrote with a more concrete goal in mind.  I am proud of my fifth graders who are bravely putting their writing out there for the whole school to read.  They are the best.  They are Eagle Eye News Reporters!

Celebration #SOL19

Tomorrow is a great day for my journalism club!  We are publishing our first issue of the “Eagle Eye News.”  This has been in the works since January when the club began.  Although my classrooms have dabbled in journalism and managed an “occasional” school newspaper for a couple of years, this is the first time I have opened it up to all fifth graders to create an after school club.

I have 11 journalists who stay after school one day every week.  They write about all of the news in the elementary school and cover sports and other extracurricular activities.  They do some of their interviewing and photography during the school day and at games.  We are also blessed to have a mom who helps each week.  She has been invaluable.

My reporters have been working hard and now the time has finally come.  We are going to digitally publish it tomorrow (and naturally we will print a few copies for souvenirs).   Of course, we plan to celebrate the publication of our first issue.  I am baking a pan of brownies as I type.  I know they are as excited as I am!

It is a wonderful time for my journalists.  It is my hope that we will be able to publish at least two more issues before school ends in May.  My journalists have a voice.  I want to give them every opportunity to use it.