Reflection: High Quality Task Main Ideas in "The Jabberwocky" - Section 3: Reading for Key Ideas and Details in "The Jabberwocky"

 

I thought that my students were always writing.  But they weren't.  Not really.

 

Sure, they wrote a paragraph or so for a daily journal at the beginning of class.  But a lot of students struggled with that.  In the last month or so, I've ditched the idea of having students write a daily journal as their bellwork, and I am so glad I did. The quality of those journals was meh.  The rigor of those journals was meh.  It was a struggle to get students to write those journals, especially my students with disabilities because it was a cold paragraph. 

 

So I've ditched the journal bellwork and switched to having students write paragraphs throughout the lesson.  Sometimes it's for homework and sometimes it's in class.  They're doing more writing than they were and the quality is higher because it's a more rigorous task.  It means more, both to me and to the students.

 

So why was I stuck on daily journals for so long?  Why was I letting those journals dominate so much time? When I started teaching high school, all the English teachers in the school did a journal for bellwork.  We often wrote the prompts together and it was to prepare them for what we'd do that day or to review the previous day.  When I transferred to seventh grade (at the same school), I kept the journal bellwork and have done so ever since. But that was the only reason. I didn't have time to read those extra paragraphs. I didn't have the energy to decipher sloppy journals. Students didn't care and I didn't care. 

 

Which begs the question--if nobody cared, including me, why was I still doing it?  Because I've done it for years?  That's not good enough.  Because students are used the routine?  They'll get used to a new routine. 

 

Consider what you're doing and why you're doing it can be one of the scariest things about teaching.  Is it going to prepare your student for the workplace?  For college?  For living life?  If it's not, ditch it for something better.

  I Thought They Were Always Writing
  High Quality Task: I Thought They Were Always Writing
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Main Ideas in "The Jabberwocky"

Unit 7: Analyzing and Crafting Original Poems with George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From”
Lesson 1 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to analyze main ideas and the author's use of language in "The Jabberwocky" by reading, writing quickwrites, and acting out the poem.

Big Idea: "The Jabberwocky" comes alive through reading, writing, and performing.

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