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Opportunities and Excellence

I always find January to be a great reflection point. Rather than set New Year's Resolutions, I like to just look at what we have left to go in the year, where we might need to do some refocusing and celebrating the excellent achievements of the students of room 157.

Grade 9

This year, I had a student teacher working with the grade 9 students, so I did not get to set their schedule to start the year. I am excited to make adjustments and get to know the kids better. We have started Project Speak, a multigenre inquiry project that I spoke about in a recent PD session, and we have established some routines that I felt were not quite going the way I hoped. Generally, we start our day with some type of quick literacy warm-up (below) then a mini-lesson and work time.

Monday-Article of the Week

Tuesday/Wednesday-Quick Write

Thursday-Essay Planning Prep

Friday-Reading Comp and Wrap-Up

I think it is going pretty well so far. Kids are writing and reading daily, and their skills are developing. As we work through Project Speak I am excited with the progress many are making in writing and researching. I look forward to sharing their work, more specifically in the month to come.

Grade 12

It is that time of year again when The Make Your Mark Project comes in, and I get to celebrate the excellence that the Senior English students have. Most are graduating this year (some take the course early, so they are not graduating this year), and the project serves as a great place for reflection and also, selfishly for me, a little bit of a chance to celebrate the kids and say goodbye. This year so many unique little projects came in that demonstrated all the unique genius of the kids.

Even a little typo can't get in the way of this brilliance

I love the time that goes into Make Your Mark and the chances that the kids take every year to create something memorable. I love reading their collections of writing. While I think CHATGPT and other things have sadly worked their way into some students' work in a way that we lose a bit of their voice I still am receiving mostly original and beautiful work. My friend Gholdy says it best

It does... Always.

Now for some additional fun, I am currently preparing for a few different presentations and even had a friend reach out to discuss the idea of writing a book together. I think sometimes we lose focus on what matters in a world of noise that tells us the work we do doesn't. It is in those moments I need to return to my students and the gifts they all share. That is the work that matters and the folks who struggle to recognize that probably are not worth the concern anyway.

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