The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power.
A second-grade teacher in my building got a surprise the other day.
We’d just come back from our holiday break to tackle the second half of the school year. Mrs. Hurto gathered her second graders for read aloud, as she always did just before the class went off to lunch. “Ooooh! What Sisters Grimm book are we going to start?” one of them asked eagerly.
“We’re going to take a break from Sisters Grimm,” she told them. “I have another great book I know you’ll like.”
Instantly, all the students surrounding her protested. Loudly. “No!” they said. “We want Sisters Grimm We missed the stories over break and were excited for a new one!”
Mrs. Hurto persisted. “There are so many wonderful books out there; I want to try some new ones. You’ll like it. Trust me.” With that, she opened the new book and began to read. The students listened, sullen and with eyes downcast. Mrs. Hurto forged on.
Sometime later when Mrs. Hurto returned from lunch, her students were just completing their 30-minute indoor recess. As they returned to their desks, Mrs. Hurto walked to her desk to put her lunch box away — and promptly burst into delighted laughter.
Over recess, the class had banded together to write Mrs. Hurto an “anonymous” letter. In careful young second-grade handwriting and with second-grade mechanics, it read:
Dear Mrs. Hurto, Every Body is mad at you for not reading Sisters Grimm. So stop making us suffer.
There you have it. The letter, conceived and delivered by a group of second graders, shows the power and passion of a small group of excited, eager readers.
The next day, Mrs. Hurto returned to Sisters Grimm. How could she deny such commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm? It was clear that her students were hanging on to her every word, and they had bonded closely with the characters in the series. Time enough later to broaden their horizons. For now, the suffering must end.
This week we look at anchor charts in classrooms. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Jennifer Schwanke is a principal in Dublin, Ohio. She also blogs about her personal pursuits at http://jengoingbig.blogspot.com/.
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Here are two features from the archives for considering anchor charts in classrooms.
Shari Frost takes A Closer Look at Anchor Charts:
Suzy Kaback finds the Writing Strengths Anchor Chart builds skills and community at the same time:
In a new podcast, Marjorie Martinelli and Kristi Mraz, the authors of Smarter Charts, have chart marking advice for teachers:
The Chartchums blog from Marjorie and Kristi explains the Method to (Our) Charting Madness. This is a great check-in for January when teachers are considering goals and progress midway through the year:
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Mary Lee Hahn explores The Shape of Stories with her fifth-grade students. This is a terrific activity for helping older students understand increasingly complex story structures as they move through the intermediate grades:
Gretchen Schroeder concludes her Shakespeare in the Age of the Common Core Series with Act III: Exploring Subtext with a Midsummer Night’s Dream:
We start a bonus video series this week. Linda Karamatic uses a read aloud to launch a group activity to build understanding of inferring:
New PD2Go: The 4th Grade Science Challenge from Franki Sibberson combines homework, collaboration, science, and math skills practice.
This video with workshop guide fulfills Common Core State Standard 4.RI.7: Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g. in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
That’s all for this week!