Six weeks into the school year with unseasonably warm temperatures…I find myself looking for signs of fall. Southern California is not known for spectacular fall colors: the changing leaves, colorful gourds, and orange pumpkins decorating doorsteps. Instead, I notice things like the orange and red kelp washed up by hurricane Simon off the coast of Mexico,
the orange beach umbrella near the lifeguard tower,
and the golden sun highlighting the surfer atop the bigger than usual waves.
And I’m starting to see some even more exciting signs of fall…and of the writing community growing in my classroom. Some signs are subtle, like students settling into writing without any urging from us and sticking with the writing for longer and longer periods of time. There’s a willingness to share writing with one another and with the class as a whole…even from our shyer students. And then there’s the risk-taking…trying out new strategies for revision and composition with independence and confidence.
This third grader uses her reflection notebook to write about a tool we use in class to help with revision. It’s clear that she sees the value of revision for improving her writing…knowing writers, even good writers, have to work at improving their craft.
It’s also fun to see students bring their voice to informal, reflective writing. They are writers whenever they put words to a page…like this student describing something learned from reading a Scholastic News magazine,
Like the more obvious brilliant crimson leaves, sweet apple cider, and crisp autumn evenings that signal fall, these subtle signs in the classroom represent our growth as a community of learners and writers. We are ready to dig in, to stretch ourselves as learners, and to learn from and with each other throughout the school year.
I have to look carefully for signs of fall in my place…they aren’t easily recognized by those looking for the gorgeous iconic images we see represented in the media. The same is true in my classroom, looking carefully uncovers signs that might be overlooked otherwise. The signs are there and I’m looking forward to the journey with these young writers.
What signs of a developing learning community are you seeing in your place?