Thursday, July 28, 2016

Write Like This - by Kelly Gallagher Review

I checked out Write Like This nearly two years ago from our school's library. (Sorry to my fellow teachers... but no one else has been asking for it.) It sat in my bedroom for a year, but after a great district workshop on writing WITH your students, I felt compelled to pick it up. If nothing else, I needed to get it back to the school.

The first chapter was slow for me. I knew what Kelly Gallagher was explaining. I buy into teachers modeling writing.  But, as I kept reading, I was more and more inspired and more reflective of my inadequacies. I didn't model as much as I thought I did.

The book is chunked into different writing purposes:

  • Express and Reflect
  • Inform and Explain
  • Evaluate and Judge
  • Analyze and Interpret
  • Take a Stand/Propose a Solution
Within in of the sections, Kelly gives strategies, examples, HIS samples, his revisions, and his students' writing. My brain exploded; this man is a genius. I wasn't doing enough. I was only scratching the surface in my lessons and units.  I could be doing so much more, and I need to show my students more of my own writing.

I'm going to lend the book to a fellow teacher and BUY MY OWN copy.

I'm actually really excited. I'm already writing articles for a magazine, books, cartoon series, and a movie script. Bring it into the classroom!! 

I loaned the book to another teacher on my campus, and as we talked (and spent the day together during the summer), I realized that I could even bring in my writing portfolio that I compiled in college with a professor.  I could bring in those magazines with my articles. I could bring in my works in progress - I have SEVERAL!

Each year, I want to do more and to do better than the year before. I know my kids will benefit.  So will I. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

The day after 5 Dallas officers were killed...

It seems like I've been on social media non-stop, and I probably need to quit. However, that along with a wonderful 5 hour lunch with a dear friend from high school helped me sort out a few things.

I am passionate about social issues and doing something to help our world. I'm more passionate about giving my students the opportunity to find their passion and their voice to make positive changes in the world.  I'm not always sure that I'm doing much, but I got such amazing confirmation today from a former student.

My FB post:

Unfriended someone I went to high school with today-- I could not keep someone who continually posted racist and insensitive comments. She does not believe America has any race problems, just thug problems. She does not believe there are issues with the way women are treated, nor is there any problem with guns in America today. She doesn't see it, therefore it does not exist. Sadly, many people do not acknowledge a problem until they face it in a very up-close and personal way.

So, in order to keep my stress levels down and to remove toxicity from my life (and honestly, hers), unfriending was the way to give us both peace.

Fighting for causes is my passion, and I try to show that everyone has a voice and a place to make the world better. The first step is to recognize and understand the issue. The second is to find a way to fix it. I hope everyone can realize their unique and beautiful role on this planet.

I plan to be the change I want to see - every day.

Student comment: 

 PREACH! This is why I'm really grateful I got to have you as my teacher TWICE in middle school.

Me: Thank you, sweet T___!!!! My heart swells when I see my students on FB because you are forever a part of my life. You have a voice, and it is unique and beautiful!!!

Student: Ahh I love you, Ms. Haranda! Stay awesome.

Me: I love you too!!

Yes, when my 8th graders leave middle school, I tell them I'd love to have them friend me on FB. It's an open invitation. I wish them happy birthday. I encourage them. I support them as they move on in life. 

I can't be a hypocrite as a teacher. I can't build superficial relationships that don't exist outside of school. I can't not be passionate about social issues if I ask my students to fight for a cause. 

I can't stop being me.