Wednesday, October 24, 2007


When a visiting parent saw that all the papers posted in the middle school language arts room say "Excellent" and "Terrific!" on the top, she wondered, "Are all the kids geniuses here?" Well, maybe. But the reason the posted papers are all good is revision. Revision is a constant process here. Students work on things until they reach excellence. What is "excellence" is something that the teacher and student or the class as a whole, agree upon. It could be different for each child, but there will be certain agreed upon criteria.

In 2-3, students are actually so excited about revising their poems about mist (part of their study of the water cycle) that they are loath to stop! They started with the bare bones of a poem and discussed typical describing words and "juicy," unusual describing words. How fun it is to use "juicy" words! Their poems are so rich! We'll put one in "FYI."

Here are two poems from middle schoolers:

by Jack

Gears meshing
Wheels turning
Legs burning
One more mile
Burning harder
Almost there

Winds forty
Waves crashing
Boat keeling
Don't capsize
Gotta tack
Coming around

Three two one
Out of the gate
Getting speed
On edge
Carving down
Start tucking

by Matthew

I am the remembrance
Of wars long past to wars
I'm from the survivors
Of the Greek, Roman
and Persian Wars
I am remembering
Them for they are worthy
Of Remembrance.

So, I am the reader
And the writer. The
Teacher and the
Pupil and will
Live to pass those
Legends to those
After me.

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