Friday, March 31, 2017

on voice: moon tags world

This week I have cause to reflect on my expressive teaching style (sometimes characterized as "mouthy") and what it begets.  Apparently, compared with 2nd grade classes down the hall, my 2nd graders' passage through The Great 2nd Grade Change is a little louder and more fraught with opinionated statements and argument.  Apparently my modeling is powerful, and all that complex, passionate speaking I do causes my 7's-turning-8 to feel that they also have a right to speak passionately and in detail.  Apparently I am doomed to wrestle my students for the Talking Stick on an hourly basis, unless I am willing to apply a double standard that allows me an endless right to speak and them the right mainly to listen quietly.

There are more nuances at work in this scenario, of course, but this is how things are looking this week, the week when we strove through a 75-minute class meeting aimed at resolving a giant playground conflict involving two-thirds of the class. Everybody talked; nobody passed.

On the other hand, perhaps my mouthy teaching style also begets this poem for not one but TWO voices by Madelinne.  She's a shy and gentle soul whose journey toward English literacy has been quiet, long and effortful.  But if my hourly wrestle for the Talking Stick has anything to do with this beautiful breakthrough of confidence and voice, it is all worth it.



It was her idea, at the end of our 2-week study of poems for two voices; it was my suggestion to begin with "Hello, world"; it was her proud excitement to come and show me that "I wrote it all myself!"

The round-up today is with Amy at The Poem Farm.  Her "First Catch" is the poem I use to kick off our Poems for Two Voices project, and it works beautifully for teaching point of view--emotionally engaging, basic enough for even the least experienced readers, rich enough to inspire the most experienced.  Thanks, Amy, for this and every other wonder you put out there for our kids and their voices!

13 comments:

  1. Beautiful share. Recess is so key for kids. They need to learn to work out the difficulties. They are lucky to have such a great teacher.

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  2. HA! Oh yes, my own programming style has been described as "energetic" "boisterous" and "enthusiastic"...or in other words...loud! I have frustrated several school teachers with my interactive reading style - so many teachers want their students to sit quietly and "absorb" my knowledge while I read to them, while instead I'm asking them questions, encouraging them to shout out their answers and disagree with me, and then getting them jumping around the room! ;-)

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  3. Oh, I adore this poem. I am reminded of Picasso's statement that he strove his whole life to "paint like a child." I strive to write like your Madelinne: strong characters, bold words, no clutter, deep love. And a great surprise ending too! Your strong voice is a powerful model, especially for our young women. They must learn that their voices matter and will be heard. Thank you for being you. x

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  4. Madelinne's poem is so dear. She is right to be proud and very fortunate to have YOU as her teacher!

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  5. I love Madelinne's poem. I love that your students are following your example to claim their voices (even though it can be challenging at times).

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  6. I chuckled over your fight for the talking stick, Heidi. You know my granddaughter is in 2nd grade, & she is a talker, sometimes complains that she doesn't get to share her thoughts enough! We do discuss that everyone needs to be heard! The poem shows what the world might do better with: collaboration and acceptance of change, still smiling! Love that you used Amy's poem as a mentor.

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  7. "Let's drink water" - simple, yet profound. Madelinne's poem is a gem, as you are in the classroom. =)

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  8. Here comes the POET! Madelinne did a fantastic job with this! You too, Heidi... great job, Teach. :)

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  9. Great poem by Madelinne! I can see why both of you would be pleased.

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  10. Heidi, Madelinne's poem is stunning. She has internalized so many lessons and concepts. She's a learner for life. I'm so happy for her....happy for you that you get to see this in her. Happy for our nation and our world that Madelinne is already on her journey toward leadership.

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  11. So great! I, too, have spent the week competing with my students for the right to talk. Maybe I should have my kids write some poems like this! (Mine are a lot older than yours, but it couldn't hurt!)

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  12. As I head back into my classroom after missing the entire month of March, I am certain that we will be having some epic discussions. I need to be ready to really listen. No double standards allowed.

    Huzzah to Madelinne for her poem. It deserves to be paired with Laura Purdee Salas' new book, IF YOU WERE THE MOON.

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  13. Love, love this poem by your student and for sprinkling your poetic joy unto them.

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