Thursday, June 07, 2007

Units of Study, by Lucy Calkins

I'm still online! If I knew which neighboring apartment of my mother-in-law is keeping an open wifi network, I'd offer to pay them 20 bucks. Or more. Per day. The first book I finished here in Fargo was Anthony Horwitz's Scorpia. And the verdict is: I've found another cool series. The writing style is crisp and inviting, the plots are worthy of the best Mission Impossible or James Bond films, and the main character, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider, struggles with developing his own set of values and commitments. Nice adolescent identity fodder, but it isn't overplayed, really at all. When I get home I plan to read and write a booktalk for Stormbreaker, the first book in the Alex Rider series.

In addition to my goal to write 20 booktalks worthy of performing before my students next fall, I also plan on filling my own writer's notebook with strategies from Lucy Calkin's Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5. I dreamed, last night, about being a real student with my precious book full of my own stumbling writing efforts. Suddenly our teacher, who in my dream was the district literacy coach Chelsea, asked us to turn in our writer's notebooks. That anxious, vulnerable, heady feeling of sharing their writing with a trusted mentor is something I intend to give my students regularly next year. I didn't realize that collecting the notebooks and connecting with students through them often was so vital to the strength of writer's workshop. Duh.

Any other summer goals worth recording? Nah. I'll read the new 5th and 6th grade math cores and memorize the standards, but I don't need to set any goals around math, cuz my brain is sponge-like when it comes to math.

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