Today begin like everyday loud and with over active 5th graders tumbling into my room. The near fights in the hall and loud teachers working to get everyone into classrooms were there as usual. We went through our morning circle, reviewed the day, I reminded them I was still looking for realistic fiction storys to show case in the hall ( ha like that was going to happen) and then I sent them off to write for SOL.
The noisy group moved off to their desks and began writing. Wait did I say writing – yes indeed. They pulled out notebooks from baskets, backpacks and desks and pencils were moving across the page. There were four or five students who quietly slid up and asked for a post -it note so they could mark the fiction story they thought might work. Two needed me to read over their story because they were not sure they would fit since they wrote their story from the view point of a fish or an animal. They knew realistic fiction needed to be something that could really happen and they were should their story could really happen but we might not know about it because the fish couldn’t tell us. ( Wow they were really thinking this morning.)
The afternoon group (my 4th graders) entered and I had this feeling we were going to go down hill – I was just happy with my morning quiet writing and working session. It would be ok if this group did not settle as I would like. We started with a research project – reading non fiction books on environments and taking notes for our environments posters. These posters will hang in the hall during our science fair. They liked that idea and were a bit loud but totally engaged in reading and gathering facts.
It then came to reading in small groups and I knew this would be tricky so we began in the whole circle with my reading out loud and the class following along. We are reading The Summer of the Bonepile Monster by Aileen Henderson. It was not more that a few lines when the restless bodies settled and silence fell over the room. They were caught in the story, they were worried about our main character and if he was going to survive. I decided to continue with this book as a read aloud instead of sending them off to small groups again. As I read we explored the words we did not understand, I pointed out where our author used metaphors and similes, we wondered and predicted.
Most days I would have lost the groups to crazy behaviors but today there was the magic of story and writing in both rooms. There were times I stopped and started to ask myself what happened but decided it was best to not look at this gift to closely. Sometimes it is best to just enjoy the silence and relax in the joy of reading and writing with students.