Back to School

I’m in the midst of the whirlwind first days of school. To make this back to school crazier than usual, we are starting the year with a sub principal and minus two sixth grade teachers- no subs! So I temporarily became a 6th grade teacher, which is making the whirlwind seem like a hurricane. Still, I had a nice moment this afternoon.

I used a short passage from The House on Mango Street as a mentor text for writing about “My Name.” After the lesson, R came to me with a smile. “I read some of the stories in that book,” she said. I told her I had just started reading it, and that I especially enjoyed how the author wrote about each member of the family having different hair. Her favorite, she told me, is the lady who had too many kids.

It was a tiny slice of life, but I was impressed once again with an idea I believe… students respond when they see themselves and their culture in literature. Also, when we use mentor texts as a matter of fact and often, exchanges like this one become an exchange between two readers- equal contributors to the conversation. It made me smile!

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8 Responses to Back to School

  1. Linda Baie says:

    Love hearing this, and love that book-such a valuable text for sharing life stories. Sorry for the strange mix-up of no principal & not 6th grade teachers. Since you are “now” the teacher, bet they’ll miss you when things are straightened out. At least I guess that’s the plan. Otherwise-enjoy those special kids-love that age!

  2. This made me smile, too. Those connections are so important – without them, no one becomes a life-long reader. Good for you!

  3. Barb Brown says:

    I love that book and have also read a passage from it and then had students look up what their names mean on the internet. It sounds like you are off to a fun start with your school year. There is nothing like being flexible and showing your flexibility. 6th graders are fun to connect with. I like in your writing how you describe the first days of school as a whirlwind but you are feeling by the end of writing your first paragraph, that it is more like a hurricane. Love the image it creates in my mind!

  4. arjeha says:

    It is always a nice feeling to connect with students. I loved my 6th grade students. It always felt good to share books that they cared about.

  5. Jaana says:

    I love that book! I have used of often with my ELLs. Making connections in the midst of the “hurricane” is not always easy. Great start for you!

  6. Love your comment about your interaction with the student was “an exchange between two readers- equal contributors to the conversation” – it denotes an environment of mutual respect.

  7. loraleebain says:

    Sweet exchanges!
    The grade 6s aren’t going to want to lost you!

  8. Ramona says:

    Too bad I can’t pop in for a few days. I’m relieved not to be starting school this year – no August angst, but also a little at loose ends. I’m sure that I’ll figure it all out as the year progresses. Change is always challenging. Hope you get those sixth grade teachers or subs soon. In the meantime, enjoy those sixth graders. They’re my people, and I love them.

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