Friday, November 4, 2011

A Writing Celebration

Well, the celebration definitely isn't mine; I just looked back at my last post and realized it was over a month ago -- yikes!! I have a huge list of ideas to blog about, but just haven't found the time to do so. With NCTE 2011 just around the corner, I'm hoping to turn that around now.

But, on to the real writing celebration. Recently, we did some mini-research in our classroom of the 28 finalists for the next Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The students' research, learning, and final presentations were amazing! But, as a teacher, the huge excitement came after this mini-research was done, and my 48 students went back to choosing what they wanted to write again.

Much to my delight, with all the emphasis we have put on wondering this year and their enjoyment of the research process, many students chose to research yet another topic in which they were interested. I could talk about each and every one of them, but tonight I want to focus on one group of girls.

After hearing me talk about visiting the 9/11 Memorial on a recent trip to New York City, they wanted to know more about what happened that day in 2001. When I asked them why, they said they were either not born yet or were just babies; they wanted to learn more about this tragedy. So, they were off, checking with many sources to find the information for which they were looking. While that was delightful, it is how they made our school setting work for them as learners that is really the celebration of this anecdote.

The art teacher in our school runs an art studio -- students have a variety of choices as artists each time they enter the art room. These four girls first used their choice in writing workshop to investigate the information about 9/11, then they used their choice to build the twin towers in the construction area of the art studio during art period, and finally they used their choice on how to publish their information to share it with their classmates -- they put all the information about 9/11 on the towers they had built. They also added a backdrop for the beautiful blue September sky of 9/11, and designed a way to have a paper airplane fly into their towers.

I am so proud of these girls; they truly have made our school work for who they are as learners and communicators. And the pride they had in what they discovered and how intrigued and impressed their classmates were -- it just can't be measured!! Like I said, this is a real writing celebration!! And a celebration for the wonder of CHOICE as well!

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