Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Elementary, My Dear Watson. Elementary.

Which doesn't have the slightest thing to do with this post, but I thought it was somewhat clever, because once again, I am at the elementary school. The teachers started work yesterday, and I've been helping them out in getting ready for the new year.
I was moving locator cards to different binders this morning (why they keep all of the old locator cards I don't understand- all of the parents have to fill out new ones anyway), and then I called Emily after lunch about writing club. Elementary school writing club, that is.
The teacher who was doing it last year isn't working here anymore, but we have loads of great ideas and want to manage it ourselves. We're thinking of having it on Fridays so we don't have to worry about getting our homework done, and because Emily doesn't have marching band practice on Fridays.
So I talked to one of the other teachers who helped out last year to see if she would be our adult supervision (since we aren't allowed to be alone with a bunch of kids). She thinks she'll be too busy with meetings and stuff, and since her department is math this year instead of writing, it's not even related. (Errant thought: ooh, it's raining. I love rain.)
She said maybe the Writing SIP (school improvement plan) committee would be interested, and (I think) she'll talk to them, so hopefully it will be a go.

Some of our plans for them, assuming we get to do it:
  • The YWP. Yes, I know, I'm insane trying to help 30-odd elementary schoolers through their versions of NaNoWriMo while simultaneouly trying to finish my own. But I think it'll be fun, and it won't be mandatory for them to do it. If they don't want to, they can just come to meetings and write other stuff as per usual.
  • Making books. Emily's step-mom knows how to actually make certain types of mini-books, so we might be able to get her to come in sometime and do a workshop sort of thing.
  • Poetry contests (a few kids did them last year)
  • Maybe the bare books that we did last year, but I don't know how to get them and that would involve collecting money from the kids, which is a thing I'd rather stay away from
  • Writing partners. In addition to the small groups we had last year (which I think is a good idea), we were thinking of maybe pairing up the kids with each other to write stories together. Kind of how Emily and I are working on the Peace/War poems together, but probably not of that ilk. My grandpa and I wrote a story together over email when I was in kindergarten and drew pictures for it in Paint. It'll probably be more like that. Some of them will be paired up with kids their own age, and some older kid/younger kid groups.
So that's what we've discussed so far. The next list is random brainstorming I'm doing on the spot that Emily and  I have yet to discuss. And I realize this bit sounds like one of those boring curriculum guides. But I'm surrounded by teachers, so their mental waves are probably rubbing off on me or something.
  • Emphasis on reading other books and applying them to the students' writing
  • Learning about quotation marks (which might not be appropriate for them. I don't know, because although I first learned about them in first grade in a small group with two other AG students, I'm sure most kids take longer.) I really enjoyed that, and it's good to know.
  • More usage of the small group model. I feel like we get a lot of good stuff done in our writing club, and even though we're a bit older, I think they can get some benefit from a similar sort of thing as well. So what if at the beginning of the meeting they get into their groups and read to each other and give feedback? Not for very long, of course, since there's other things to do. We only see each other once every fortnight, yet I think we know each other pretty well considering it's only that often. Therefore I'm inclined to think that sharing writing= bonding of some sort, or at least familiarity.
I guess what I'm wanting is for this year to be more writing-centric, specifically improving it (the students' writing). And maybe what I have in mind is a little too intense and serious for the average elementary schooler. But it's what I would want, were I one of them instead of a manager/leader person.
Last year was pretty lax, I guess. Not much work was done. Mostly the kids just talked to each other about random stuff (and who am I to judge-that's what we do, too!) but our meetings aren't about doing the writing- we do that on our own time. These meetings are, however, and I want stories/poems/whatever to come out of them.

I was just called over into the media office where my mom's working, and there has been an email from my couselor (for those of you who read my massive rant before I removed it due to the fact I had calmed down and didn't need people to hear my anger anymore). Child Development has been removed from my schedule and Computer Programming has been inserted. Computer Apps (which is second semester) can be discussed in October. Apparently I am "very fortunate" that this change in schedule could be done. Ms. O'Riordan, in the words of those aliens from Toy Story, "You have saved my life (not really)- I am eternally grateful."
So there's some massive amounts of happiness.
And at the moment, my second semester seems pretty easy. I mean, sure, I have to start learning Latin, but I'll just park my TARDIS below the classroom and it can translate for me. So no sweat there.


  1. Latin is of the devil, just warning you it will possess you, steal you life, crush your dreams and hopes, and then leave you broken and bitter.

  2. Just like you then, yes?
    You use me to write your Android story, take up an hour of my time twice a month, give scathing comments, and then leave me to go home. :D
    I'm still sane after how long of this?
    I think I'll be alright.


Talk to me.