Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Paragraphing Success

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Overheard today as I was walking the room while students were working in their reading journals:

"I keep forgetting to paragraph! I am annoying myself!"

Today was the first day of our second quarter. Today was the first day for new writing prompts for reading journals. We do weekly practice writing in the genres that are tested in our reading journals during our first semester. Practice the genres students need for the state assessment with authentic, chosen readings. It is my compromise.

Instead of assigning the reading journal writing for homework, we now write the entries in class on Mondays. I confer with students about them on Tuesdays. I wrote three model pieces today. I was writing while students wrote in three classes. In the other three classes, I was troubleshooting, answering questions and supporting students who needed me.

There is a lot happening in any one high school classroom.

After we wrote for 15-20 minutes, I asked students to turn and share, to talk about their pieces. We all took a break from the page (even if we weren't finished) and talked.

I walked the room.

Overhearing, Allison today after she'd read a table-mate's journal made me smile. I've been reminding and reteaching paragraphs and organization for eight weeks. Her comment was a moment of sweet success-- spontaneous and automatic, a recognition of skills. Yes!

Glad I caught it.


  1. Those unexpected "got it!" comments from kids are the best!!! :-) (And I'm glad your kids still need help paragraphing too... sometimes I worry that my kids are sooo far behind 'regular' kids, and it's always nice to realize that those 'regular' kids are still building lots of basic skills too!)

  2. I love that comment - you know that this student owns her writing process now!

  3. I love that comment - you know that this student owns her writing process now!

  4. So great about that 'annoying myself', that ownership is powerful, Lee Ann. You do so, so much, and with six classes! And your students are very, very lucky.