First of all, we will now return to more frequent posts after two weeks of only book reviews. Thank you for your patience!
It got pretty busy around here with several new students, and the blog had to be ignored for a few days. Because we don’t follow a set curriculum, the first few classes with a new student require extra preparation and follow-up. Personally, I take several hours – not all at one time! – to reflect on a student’s interests and personality. “What made her the most talkative?” “What did his body language communicate?” “Does she respond better to humor or serious discussion?” I use this reflection to develop possible lesson plans; for a new student, I often create several lesson plans for just one class because I know I will learn more about the student during that very class! This is a very interesting process for me – I love the challenge of tweaking my lessons to best fit each student, as well as the joy of discovering the new mind and personality sitting beside me.
We also wanted to tell you that we are moderating comments on this blog. We want this to be a safe place for our students to visit, so no comment will be posted without Allison or Jennifer reviewing it first. Criticism is acceptable if it is not done rudely or using inappropriate language – ask yourself, “Would I say this if my grandmother could hear me?” I bet there are already some spelling or grammatical errors on this young blog and I would love to get your corrections! Commenters, this does mean you won’t see your comment right away, unfortunately. However, it is more important to keep the conversation clean and kind so that everyone can participate.
Finally, I (Jennifer) will not be teaching this Friday, August 17. I will be attending a professional development class at the Eric Carle Museum. Picture Books as Touchstones for Developing Writers will discuss how to use picture books to begin writing lessons. Many of you have already seen how Allison and I use picture books in our lessons, with students of all ages and ability levels, and I am very excited to have a chance to improve my skill in this area. Of course, I also love any excuse to visit the Eric Carle Museum. Have you and your family made the trip yet? Once the fall weather begins to turn crisp and clear, it makes the perfect Saturday drive…
That’s it for now, friends. You will see an advanced grammar challenge posted this evening and later this week we will post two book reviews, a review of some neat vocabulary software, and a writing game we use in class which families might enjoy playing together, too. Stay cool!