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Saturday, October 2, 2010

First Semester is in Full Swing!

Boy, isn't that the truth...

I just looked at the number of blog posts for September, and it is a frighteningly low number, especially when compared with August.  Clearly school is in full swing!  But I promise, I'm turning over a new leaf in October.

So, what have I been doing that has kept me from checking in with the blog on a regular basis?  Well, obviously A LOT of reading, lesson planning, writing, newsletters, reviews, teaching classes, teaching teachers...the list goes on and on, as it does for every teacher.  Lately I have been wrapped up in our
"Not Just Reading and Writing" project, which started last week and is already moving along. 

This is a popular and well-loved project at EJH that allows students in our 7th grade Tech I classes to tie their learning of technology skills into the Language Arts 6+1 Traits of Writing curriculum, and demonstrate both in a culminating project of writing, illustrating, and publishing a children’s picture book of their own design.  When the final books are published, our 7th graders invite kindergartners from the neighboring elementary schools to visit the junior high library for a field trip to hear the stories read aloud. (To see pictures of this project in action, click on the link above).  This project has won a Best Buy "Teach Award" grant, a Best Buy "@15" grant, a
Lake Washington Schools Foundation grant, and a grant from the Evergreen PTSA.

While I have learned MANY things during the process of teaching creative writing to 7th graders, one of my favorites is the discovery of "Chester's Masterpiece" by Melanie Watt.  What a perfect book to teach students about what a good story needs, and how difficult the process is.  For those of you not familiar with Watt's books about Chester the cat, you should definitely read them all.  But if you are looking for a fun way to introduce students of any age to creative writing, you MUST pick up this newest one where Chester takes over and decides he can write a book all by himself without the help of Ms. Watt.  WONDERFUL...FUNNY...PERFECT!  My daughter would say, "Two Thumbs Up!"

I cannot wait to see the books that this semester's classes create.  Will keep you updated on the progress.  What has been keeping you busy so far this school year?

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