18 March 2016

Something that delighted me this afternoon

One of the activities students in my class do is free writing. They have 10 - 25 minutes depending on the day and what else we are working on to write about anything they like. I try to do it every day, but somedays it just doesn't happen. Teaching's like that.

Managing to read and provide feedback on students' writing has always challenged me, so this semester I decided to try something new. I divided my class into five groups, labelled their book boxes, reading journals and writing notebooks with a coloured sticker on which I'd written M, Tu, W, Th, or F. Now students hand their books in on the correct day and I tackle 4 reading journals and 4 writing notebooks each day instead of having a pile of 20 at the end of the week. So far that strategy is working well. Wednesday can be a bit tricky when I leave school as soon as the class does in order to get home for my uni "Collaborate" session, but either they get done on Thursday morning (early start) or I bring them home (and do them when uni is finished).

So today I had 3 sets of books to read, from 3 totally different students. One set was from a very capable, confident and creative young lady, who had written some very creative fiction. The second was from a student who still struggles to put sentences together correctly, who had told me about races they ran in their PE lesson, and the third was from a student who has made huge strides in reading this year. As I read the third student's writing I was thrilled. Here's what he had written.

Reading is fun.
Reading is fun, at the beginning  of the year I know that reading was hard for me, and I keep saying that reading is hard, then when I do more of RAZ-Kids it become easier and funner to read. Reading is very fun and easier for me now, because I read lot's of books in RAZ-Kids and at school too. My favourite author is Suzy Kline, because sometimes she write funny book and sometimes sad book. My favorite book is about Horrible Harry, he always do horrible thing, but sometimes not. I love reading now, and I even read at home too!

Reading that piece of writing filled me with delight. This is one of those intangible things that makes teaching a joy and a privilege. Yes, it isn't perfect writing, but how many of us write perfectly first time anyway? This student's first language is Khmer. This was written directly in English. I couldn't do it! These kiddos amaze me.

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