Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Summative Assessment


"Okay, let's get started."

"Are you nervous," one student asks another.

I hear a high-pitch yes and see hand clutching and nervous jumping up and down out of the corner of my eye.

Students have an on-demand writing assessment today. Students write in between the lines above the directions and rubric in a Google document. 

Knowing I am deviating from the PLC's practice of giving the same passage to every student in a certain class period, I opened with, "Let me tell you how the assessment is put together."

"You will have the directions on one-side of the page in front of you, with a check list you can use before you submit. On the other side of the page is your passage. We will start with 10-15 minutes of close reading without our computers.  Everyone has a different passage and ---" 

A chorus of moans and groans interrupted me:




"Wait, what?" a student said.

"Everyone has a different passage," I repeated. "Is everything okay? You've got this. We've practiced. You're ready." Unbeknownst to students, I intentionally chose passages for each of them to align with thinking they've captured via Leticia Hughes' envelope analysis activities. They are not using their envelopes, nor are they using the one-pager of quotes and questions we used during a Socratic discussion; still, I am hoping ideas align.

"It's fine. It will be fine," one student says.

I was surprised by students' reactions.  What do you think they are expressing or reacting to, I wonder? 

The Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by the team at Two Writing Teachers
everyday in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Morning Routine in Verse

4:24 am 

Wake up.

Feed foster kittens.

Clean litter box.

Make coffee.

Start laundry. Iron.

Shower. Dress. Groom.

Pack for school.

Journal. Pray. Meditate.


Call Mom.

Chit. Chat. Chit. Chat. Cheep, cheep, cheep.

Add brother.

Chit. Chat. Chit. Chat. 

Watch kittens play.

Message husband.

Pump tires.

Herd kittens.

Change water.

Pack saddlebags.






                    c     o     a     s     t

down hill

        ring the bell, ring the bell

    down hill

               stay to the left, left, left

        down hill

                 bump across the grate, the stick, the groove in the walk

                 c     o     a     s     t

Take the corner.

Peddle, peddle, peddle

STOP at the street

Go. Peddle.



Walk up the drive into another school day.

6:50 am

The Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by the team at Two Writing Teachers
everyday in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Relationships Continue

See that young woman on the Say Word image of my blog header? Let's call her B. 

Some of you know her real name. She was in my class and an active member of our poetry club. Some of you know her positivity and her parents. That photo was taken on stage during our yearly poetry slam. Some of you may have been in the room for that slam. One of many brave voices that year, B delivered a poem about sex and abstinence-- she may have included a reference to fruit.  How was that a decade ago already? Last week, B turned twenty-seven?! 

Her light and energy is captured in the up-tilt of her chin. She spoke words she wrote with panache in front of five-hundred of her peers that day, such confidence. That spirit brought her around the world too. After college graduation, she investigating teaching English overseas. She moved here to Singapore and taught little ones at My English School.  I remember well her first message about moving. 

I was in a PLC meeting and she messaged me.  I will still so new to Singapore myself, having lived here just three months. B messaged that she'd had several offers from English schools in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. She thought the Singaporean contract was the best offer and asked for advice. 

I turned to the PLC and asked them what they thought. When it became clear that the school would not provide housing or health insurance, the PLC group thought that the compensation offered was not enough: $4,000 SGD today equals $2975.OO USD.  

People live on far less. With roommates or by renting a single room, I knew she could do it. She knew she could too. 

So she did.

B in Chang Mai, Thailand for the flower festival, 2019.

If in 2008 or 2009 my principal or a colleague had said, "Just you wait. Your paths with these kids-- they will continue to connect. I bet you'll even meet that one in Singapore once she graduates." 

I wouldn't have believed it. Could hardly imagine it then. 

Incredible things are possible. 

This student, that teacher, relationships with the people near and around us in school. They come back to you in surprising ways. The end of a quarter, the end of a school year, those false endings belie the truth. Relationships continue. 

Me, B back in Orlando and to dinner with her parents, January 2020 

The Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by the team at Two Writing Teachers
everyday in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year.