Monday, December 5, 2016

Reader's Theater Fun

What is a footnote by the way?

Dear Readers,

As I have mentioned in past posts, I am not an auditory learner. However, I have been attempting to engage in different forms of social media professional development outside of Twitter. 

Voxer has been a game changer in connecting with people on a more personal level. I enjoy the conversations I have with others and it challenges me to think differently. 

Additionally, I have started listening to the podcast on BAM Radio called MyBad with @Jonharper70bd. It is an inspiring chat where educators courageously share mistakes they have made. It will make you laugh and cry, but most importantly you will connect to others.

Last night I happened to be on Twitter when I saw the advertisement for #KidsDeserveIt YouTube episode with @awelcome and @TechNinjaTodd. I thought, I will give it a try. I tuned in and their guest was @jeffherb. (I would highly recommend by the way! It was entertaining, uplifting and I enjoyed it thoroughly!)

Something he said really resonated with me. He spoke about loving your job and despite the difficult days we all face, when we want to be at work it doesn't matter.

I absolutely agree! I LOVE my job! I look forward to going to work every day. 

Today I was especially excited because I knew we were starting A Christmas Carol in my 7th grade Language and Literature class. We have done some research on Charles Dickens' life and the inspiration behind the writing of the classic and timeless play. On Friday, I shared an excerpt so we could discuss vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and the language of the time period.

Reader's Theater 

I adore Reader's Theater. There are no props, costumes, lighting, or memorizing. It is playing with language and getting into the character through your voice. It is beyond amazing to hear the students' create characters with their voices and how they think they would sound and speak. I take a part right along with them.

It is a fantastic bonding experience. We all lose our place, we all skip lines, we all "mess" up words and we all laugh. Today was no exception.

Did you know Bob Marley is in A Christmas Carol?

If you are in my class he is. For some odd reason I was thinking....

Bob Cratchit + Jacob Marley = a new character, Bob Marley 

The funniest part? I did not realize what all the confusion was about at first. About 10 minutes in, when I kept referring to the absent character, I said, oh the singer! No wonder you guys look confused! (Oh Ms. Gross.......)

Did you know math skills are integrated into A Christmas Carol?

We were reading along and having fun and all of a sudden a student gets to.....

.....and I am explaining what "solemnized" means and the student was laughing. As the student was reading, he integrated his math skills (his 6th grade teacher was very proud after I told her) and read it as "solemnized to the 3rd power". Teachable moment! Let's talk about text features.

Embracing Teachable Moments

They did not know what a footnote was or how to read that. They knew it wasn't to the 3rd power, but nobody knew to look at the bottom of the page for an explanation. It turned into a fantastic "aha", teachable moment. As we proceeded, it gave us the opportunity to practice.

It reminded me, first of all, how much I love my students. They lift me up when I am feeling down and are a joy. It also reminded me I should never make assumptions about what background knowledge they are bringing to me.

May you all love your job and students as much as I do.