Not Your Typical Writing Workshop
From Richard Bergman
What if I told you we had to interrupt a full day writing workshop for Hope-Hill fourth and fifth graders to let them know it was time to go home? What if they didn’t want to go!
It’s true. And, like the majority of the students, I spent the better part of the day on my feet singing and dancing.
The tunes of Bon Jovi and over 45 other artists intermixed with a captivating PowerPoint reinforcing the importance of a thesis statement, organizing principles for expository writing, pronoun antecedent agreement, and so forth. I’ll bet many of your favorites–both songs and writing tips–were included.
No need to consult a thesaurus. Students were running to the front of the room, jockeying for position to copy down 24 alternatives to the word “and,” in order to liven up their writing.
Don’t believe me? Check out the magical teaching methods of Erik Cork’s “Rap, Rhythm, and Rhyme” writing workshop that came to Hope-Hill in January.
The Math is Fun Club is Actually Fun
From Howard Rees
I was in the HHES library one morning this week, in between tutoring appointments, when Ty, a second-grade boy walked by me and exclaimed, “Mr. Rees, I can’t wait until Math Club tomorrow!” Evidently the “Math Is Fun Club,” is living up to its name.
I’m one of five helpers in the weekly after-school club organized superbly by Jane MacGregor.
After a snack, the dozen second-grade club members have fun playing math related games that reinforce and supplement their classroom curriculum.
Meanwhile, Back in Kindergarten . . .
From Ron Davis
About half of the children at Hope-Hill have serious difficulty with math. As Howard’s story indicates, rather than cursing the darkness we’re lighting a candle.
Meanwhile, back in kindergarten at Hope-Hill, I’m doing my thing with words. On Friday little Serena continued to practice for her future role as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Reginald actually did what he was supposed to do, and let me help him write his sentence per the teacher’s directions. That’s good; there is much to be said for doing what you’re supposed to do.
Caleb was feeling silly, had trouble focusing, and didn’t accomplish very much. “You’re just being silly today,” I said. “No,” he replied, “I’m being bad.” Fortunately, Caleb doesn’t yet know what being bad means.
But I save the really good news for last. Little Xavier seems to have come out of the fog that affected him in prior weeks and has rejoined the group. Now, when asked to write about what he did during the snow days, he’s not satisfied with something on the order of “I made a snow angel.” Instead he wants to write a three line sentence with a complex grammatical structure.
I’m not sure Xavier is yet out of the woods. I am sure that he’s worth saving–and that to save him, it will take a village. I’m happy to be one of the villagers.
* * *
When we tell our stories, the stories are real, but the children’s names are changed.