SOLSC Day 2: Fire Drills and Found Poems

Fire drills are typically greeted with cheers and sighs of relief by most middle school students – time to head outside and time away from classwork.

I expected a similar response this morning when, like clockwork, a firetruck rolled up for our monthly fire drill.  To my surprise, groans and grumbles made their way around the classroom.  “Can we just stay in?” cried one student.  “How dare they interrupt my poetry,” protested another student.

Confused (and giggling) I herded students out the door to our typical fire drill spot.  Were these the same students who, a month earlier, begged to stay outside at the end of the fire drill?

Indeed they were.  Students were in the process of creating Found Poems as a way to analyze the moral development of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Rather than writing a typical essay-like response, students were going back over the text to gather quotes that illustrate Scout’s development in order to craft a poem.  They were eager to write, eager do discuss, and not so eager to head outside for the fire drill.

It’s exciting when this happens.  It’s exciting when you find something that gets them excited to read, reread, and write.  It’s exciting when they choose writing over fire drills.


SOLSC Day 21: Don’t Yuck my Yum


(My first blog post – this isn’t as easy as I thought it would be!)

With all that is going on in CPS (and even the world), it’s often difficult to stay positive.  Furlough days.  Job actions.  Reduced pay.  Larger class sizes.  It becomes daunting.  It can definitely yuck your yum.

When things get tough, I need to remind myself of the awesomeness of middle schoolers.  Here’s why:  Today, I walked into the cafeteria to see my principal crouched down next to two students who went along to a youth summit in Springfield this past weekend.  As I approached, I could hear them passionately discussing new legislation what would significantly impact the life of LGBTQ youth.  Seventh graders, fired up about the rights of all people.  Seventh graders, who sacrificed an entire Saturday (with their teacher) to be advocates for people who society does not treat equally.

Listening in on this conversation absolutely made my day.  Heck, it might have even made my year.

If you are ever doubting the future, step into a classroom; listen to what the youth are saying.  The future is bright and I am fortunate enough to work with it each and every day.  It definitely won’t yuck your yum.