Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Careening into Winter

“How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
~Dr. Seuss

Here, at the end of every Tuesday, young writers meet to work on stories and poems about all manner of heroes and villains. 
Sometimes, there are illustrations, too.
The old beloved typewriter gets into the mix
...let's hear it for the sounds it makes! Tap, clatter, ding!

There is plenty of peer critiquing and inspiration ... whether folks are in their pj's or not....

We start each session with a warm-up, generally a word puzzle or a quick-write prompt. 
Sometimes, we read aloud (most recently "All Summer in Day" Ray Bradbury's classic tale about a place where the sun only comes out for a few hours every seven years).
We've read selections from Ste- Exupery's The Little Prince, and "In Our Hands" a short story about voting and aliens.
But always, it's back to creating our own work.
I feel so fortunate to work with these young authors and artists!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Is It Spring Yet?

It's already early April! Perhaps the lingering winter weather will persuade you for a moment that it wasn't all that long ago that I last wrote...(January/sigh).
Or let's just hope for daffodils (soon!) and acknowledge that I mean to keep up a bit better than I have!

Third Graders are working on a variety of projects - book reviews, research on all manner of topics: Hecate, Tesla, cactuses, Rick Riordan.... They also do a variety of personal writing of the fictional kind, including a blog of reviews of books that do not (yet) exist. We continue to read The Phantom Tollbooth aloud, reveling in its wordplay. Third graders are interested in all manner of thing. Just today we decided to explore the history of the AMPERSAND (&) because it came up. Did you know it was once the 27th letter of the alphabet, and incorporates two common letters?
One of the advantages of a group like this is that we can embrace tangents and go out on limbs!

Fourth Graders are busy writing, too: historical fiction, contemporary realism, symbolic poetry, and much more. We've decided that WRITING really is our focus, and (while we share shorter readings) have abandoned our long book for now. Soon we will take a walking field trip to HMS, for a sneak preview of such coming attractions as the middle school library and the illustrative Poem Booth!

As always, please email me if you have questions or comments.
I feel extraordinarily fortunate to spend time with your young student.
The GT staff and classroom teachers are in the middle of figuring out enrichment recommendations for the coming year. We strive to help deepen the learning for all, whether this is through independent projects, one on one meetings, or pullout groups of various kinds. Stay tuned for more specific information before the end of the year!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Belated Welcome!

Dear Families of Third and Fourth Grade Students Receiving Enrichment Through Communications,

Say that ten times fast!
(It's the sort of thing we might do, here in the YES Enrichment Room!)
It's been wonderful getting to know your young readers/writers/thinkers, as I alight here - only a sunny field away from my usual middle school perch. Elementary School students are such philosophers, open to deep pondering and often just a hair's breadth away from silliness of the very best variety.

Here come some overdue notes from our classroom!

Each weekly session includes a warm-up (word/writing focused), some reading, some writing and some sharing. The hour flies....

Grade Three has been working with plausible details, favorite words, and infinity! We've done this through a "two truths and one lie" introduction (to ourselves) as well as Moebius Strip stories, Once Upon an Alphabet (short stories for all the letters) and much more. Right now, we're reading that frolic of a classic, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Up ahead, we hope to make our own story cubes, look at some author websites (Rick Riordan comes to mind!), decide about our own research projects, and take a field trip to the Harrison Middle School Library.
The more we get to know each other, the more tailored to each student's needs our adventures will be.

Grade Four students are very, very interested in working on their own free choice writing. They are each working on at least one "outside of school" (although we are inside, at least until the warmer months lure us into the garden) piece of writing. Often more. We have writing time and sharing time. The students' ability to provide useful feedback to each other is a testimony to their other teachers, current and past! We have begun reading Jean Craighead George's Julie of the Wolves, and hope to keep fitting in the time for this arctic story of survival. But we'll see. Writing rules!

Your thoughts, comments, and questions are always welcome. Please contact me at Charlotte_Agell@yarmouthschools.org
Feel very free to also hop on my author site: www.charlotteagell.com
I am at YES for the second half of Tuesday as well as part of Thursday.