March 27

Things I Don’t Like

I don’t like traffic.
I don’t like rudeness.
I don’t like cheating.
I don’t like lies.
I don’t like mean.
I don’t like burnt popcorn.
I don’t like making silly mistakes.
I don’t like when someone I love is sad.
I don’t like feeling invisible.
I don’t like crowds.
I don’t like cinnamon.
I don’t like when the seam on my sock is turned around.
I don’t like constant negativity.
I don’t like fruit with dessert (except for strawberries).
I don’t like feeling sad…

This is certainly a different kind of post for me. It was inspired by a sixth-grade writer. Her post is here. I like the line I ended on because it reminded me of this quote I saw posted by the brilliant author, Martha Beck. The raw material for joy is sorrow…WOW!

February 6

Blog Launch!

Friday was a big day in room 734. We launched our blogs. Sixth-grade writers are now sixth-grade bloggers. We’ve started later than ever…I was frustrated with the late start, usually, I like to launch blogs in the fall. 

Everything was ready. I managed to procure a cart of laptops. Instructions were clearly published in google classroom. We were ready!

This day is one of my favorite days of the whole year. I know what my students are capable of and how creative they are, but by the end of this process…many of them know it too. 

I guide them through the creation of the blog path (the URL) and the naming of the blog. I leave clear instructions for creating and submitting a post, but everything else is up to them. 

My instructions are simple: PLAY. Discover. Investigate and share what you’re learning. For some students, those instructions are scary. They want to find the “right” answer and there is no right answer. Instead, they need to be persistent and collaborate to create a unique blog that represents them and their story. 

Earlier I mentioned my frustration with beginning so late in the year. This is a brand new school and blogging was something that fell through the cracks for me. I was annoyed at myself for not following through on blogging in November. I tried to launch in December and January and found I wasn’t able to get it done, so here we are in February.

I noticed a big change in launching this year. Students were more confident in their problem-solving skills. They were able to work together and on day one they were working on some advanced blogging skills, like personalizing their blog and adding images they created themselves.

The energy in the room on launch day is palpable. There’s a buzz. Everyone is engaged and busy. I love the moans and groans I hear when I announce class is ending in 10 minutes or 8 minutes or 5 minutes. They don’t want to leave. “I can’t believe I made my own blog today.” That’s a statement I hear over and over again!

Some students have been blogging all weekend and a few even blogged on our snow day yesterday. They are sharing their stories. I’m proud. I love to read their blogs. Once we’ve blogged for a few days, we will open the blogs to the public. Audience motivates writers.

Interested in seeing some of what my sixth-grade writers created?!?! Here are a few screen shots…enjoy!

Book recommendations! YAY!
Look at all of these posts!


Telling the story of our classroom & Bob the fly!



Our blogging journey has just begun! I can’t wait to see where it takes us!

September 16

Celebrating Notebook Writers!

We’ve launched notebooks. We write in our notebooks every day. I collected notebooks for a first check. Spending time in these pages inspired me. I get to know my sixth-graders as writers and I get to know their interests and passions. Notebook writing and reading their writing is certainly something to celebrate today! The rest of this post will be pages from their notebooks. They’ve given me permission to share. You are in for a treat! Enjoy…

September 14

Launching Writer’s Notebooks

How is it possible that I’ve never written this blog post before?!?! Today, this day, notebook launching day…it’s my favorite day of the beginning of the year! It’s so exciting! The energy is palpable!

We begin by talking about what writing is. This helps me get a peek into their previous writing experiences and the emotions surrounding them. Here’s what I heard today…

These answers gave me such joy and hope. It’s evidence of students who already feel successful as writers. Next, I shared my life as a writer. I love when I show them my very first notebook and hear the gasps when they see what year I began writing…1982. 
After we discuss my experience with writer’s notebooks, I say, “Writers, you need notebooks.” Students begin shuffling around until they see the giant pile of wrapped notebooks…
I begin passing them out and the volume slowly goes up. Students start whispering and soon, they are cheering. The sound of hearing their joy as they unwrap their packages is like no other I’ve ever heard. It’s JOY! 
Once the students open their notebooks, they notice that there’s something inside…
I wrote a poem for them. It seems as if they enjoy the poem. And now, they are off! Writers, begin writing…
All this and it’s only day one with our notebooks! Watch out world, here we come!