I'm popping in to let you all know how Literacy Studio is REALLY going. We have been living in the space for a few weeks now and I finally feel comfortable enough to say that we have worked out some of the kinks and now we have some new ones to work on.
Engagement has moved to Empowerment.
Students are motivated beyond what I had ever imagined. They look most forward to their 30 minute independent block. Students are sharing their work with others and even printing out books left and right to add to the classroom library and to give friends and other teachers.
Balance needs work.
The kids are struggling with striking a balance between reading and writing. I figured we needed a place where they could keep track of their weekly work. I wanted this to include a space for reflection. In the complicated work that we have taken on as of late (BEING BETTER HUMANS) we have realized that it is easy to get caught up in the work and lose the sense of original intent and purpose for the task. This will require some explicit teaching on my part, but I know once the kids have tried it a couple of times that they will call it their own and perhaps even give me suggestions for making it better. You can find this form here.
They value what you value.
Since starting my masters program and taking on writing workshop, it is no secret that I have a new found love for teaching writing. If you knew nothing about me, you would know this by walking into my classroom. With my shift, I have felt the learners shift as well. I learn more, do better, they learn more, do better. It's all excellent and fun and engaging, but I need to be very intentional with my own balance. I am working on not overly praising writing and leaving my beloved reading in the shadows. I will say this, my understanding of the marriage between reading and writing strengthens the understanding that my students take away, and I fully understand that is not a bad thing.
This format fully supports social justice and inquiry work.
Daily, I have been trying to contain myself and my excitement for the work my kids are doing. I can't put it all in one post, but my dear friend Jessica Lifshitz has Voxer message after Voxer message about the insane things these kids are taking on. It. Is. Brilliant. I know I am late to the social justice game, but I am beginning the work now and I will not stop. Inquiry work is easy with this set up because the workshop time lays down the groundwork for empowerment and more often than not students are asking me questions like: "Do you think I could do some research on Ramadan during Independent time today?" "I want to write a story because I need a mirror for myself. I need to tell my story, can I do that during Independent time?" Or one of my favorites: "My grandma is filipino and I am going to interview her about her life for the book I'm writing during Independent time."
Hold onto your hats. It has been great so far.