Monday, March 24, 2014

#sol 14 March 25 Dinosaur Inspired Reading and Writing

Early Monday morning,"W" announced proudly, "I have something for you!"  She then continued a conversation with her peers about the events of the weekend while I smiled thinking about her infinite energy and wondering how I might corral that into reading and writing!

When she arrived in my "Reading Club Room" a few hours later, she was just as bubbly as she had been earlier. "I have a story right here," she announced proudly as she plunked herself down. "It's about what I did this weekend." In her left hand, clutched tight, was a small spiral notebook, the kind normally reserved for jotting down reminders.  In her right hand, was a pencil, covered with hearts, the one she had earned last Friday for finishing her first "chapter book," Young Cam Jansen and the Missing Cookie.

This morning's proclamation of writing was a "first" for this reluctant reader and writing; yet, she looked mighty confident of what she had done, and so I asked, "Do you want to share?"

"Of course," she said as if writing and sharing of one's writing had been part of her regular course of study. For a minute, I looked at her and wondered if she had "grown up" over the weekend.  "This is about my trip to the museum," she began proudly sharing about seeing dinosaurs, whales, formerly-alive-but-now-stuffed-but-not-with cotton-animals.

I must admit to becoming a bit misty eyed as this first-for-her, student initiated, even if not-particularly-exciting-list-story played out before my eyes.  I thanked her for sharing and her classmates quickly echoed their own praise for her efforts amid some real questions about the museum.  

Then, I glanced at my plans and smiled, again, as somehow, this student who had long resisted my push to read and pull to write had, unwittingly provided for me an "anticipatory set" for the story we would be reading this week. Instead of saying, "Have any of you ever been to a museum?" I looked at my still glowing student clutching that notebook to her heart and said,"This week's story takes place in a museum, just like the one 'W' told us about this morning!"  

I was glowing at the inspired timing and student initiated writing; she was glowing at the prospect of reading a story about a museum as I passed out the books!

Truth-be-told, I had almost talked myself out of the ol' Danny and the Dinosaur classic last Friday.  It's too long, I told myself, and so much of it (the Drug Store, the clotheslines) is old fashioned.  Yet, years of experiences and something in my heart suggested this might just support my students' reading fluency and confidence. It might even be Common Core sanctioned if I add video clips and maps from museums and then write a paragraph or two about our virtual (or real) visits!

I'm not quite sure where Danny and the Dinosaur will take us; but I am confident I will be hunting down dinosaur-covered pencils before we're done.


Jaana said...

You took the time to listen and pay attention to a reluctant reader, and in turn, you received a wonderful connection to what you had planned for the class. Thanks for sharing this in the morning. It will remind me throughout the day to listen carefully!

Kevin Hodgson said...

This is a powerful reminder of noticing those moments (those slices) that are important. Plus, I loved Danny and the Dinosaur when I was kid, and read it to my kids. I agree -- it feels dated but that is part of the appeal (or it was for me, the reader).

Amy Boyden said...

I could feel that moment of excitement from your reluctant student, and so thrilled for you that Danny and the Dinossur were on your plan that day. Sometimes the stars line up! Thanks for sharing this!

Donna Smith said...

And that is when you FIND Danny and the Dinosaur if it wasn't going to be the next book and make it the next book! Love those happy coincidences! What a wonderful moment!

Cindy said...

Powerful slice with so many reminders as we interact with children, and fun ideas for Danny and the Dinosaur, too! And since I still hang my clothes on a clothesline, does that make me outdated, too? :)

elsie said...

A special moment for sure! Now there is a real connection to this book. Love the serendipity of this moment!

Tara Smith said...

Great things happen when we listen!

LInda Baie said...

This will be such a 'moment' for that young writer, Anita. I bet she was thrilled that a book followed her own writing. I love her bubbly enthusiasm as you described. Your writing made me anticipate what was next very well. Love those stories.