Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Guest Blogger Melissa Childs and Tuesday Contest
First I want to let you know about this weeks contest. I'm giving away Sophia Nash’s book A Dangerous Beauty. All you need to do is comment this week and you'll be in the drawing. I'll announce the winner on Friday.
Now without further ado I’d like to welcome my guest blogger Melissa Childs. If you do not already know this, she is my daughter. She teaches 3rd grade in Arizona. Not only is she an awesome daughter but a great teacher as well. Her love of books goes back to her first month of life when I would hold a picture book in front of her and tell her what the animal was and then show the sounds. Okay, make the sounds but show sounds better. :)
Hi bloggers! Thanks to my wonderful mom, Vicki, for asking me to guest blog this week! Now, I must begin by saying I am my mother’s daughter. This was intended to be much shorter, but well, as previously stated, I am my mother’s daughter. Here goes.
As a third grade teacher, I get the opportunity to lay the framework of writing for my students. When they come to me they know the basics of how to write a sentence and (on a good year) how to write a simple paragraph. I get the joy of teaching them how to really be writers.
It truly is amazing to see what these eight year olds can come up with. I remember once asking my students to write about a day in the life of a mosquito from the mosquito’s perspective. I had one boy write about how he went to get his lunch from the kindergarten students because they had the sweetest blood. He went on to describe how he had to avoid the middle school students because their blood had way too many calories and he had to watch his figure, he was getting fitted for new wings soon. Those responses are priceless. I am so lucky to be a part of these children finding their voice.
My favorite experience with my students is one that I think all writers can relate to. My state teaches writing through a “six traits” model. Basically, there are six traits of good writing that we teach and score kids on. One of those traits is word choice.
Have you ever been with a kid when they are talking about something and know just what they’re describing? Once they finish this grand explanation you just kind of raise your eyebrows, smile, and say oh, really? Well, that’s what I get to teach kids to recognize in their writing. To teach this concept of word choice, I described a simple monster. It went something like: It has a head, it has arms, it has legs, and it has hair, etc.
When I drew my monster, it did have a head, but it was a teeny-tiny head. It had arms, but it had 9 of them. You get the picture. My students were amazed that their monsters looked nothing like mine, yet I was completely correct in everything I said.
We then repeated the exercise, only this time my descriptions were full of detail and words that “showed” them my monster rather than just “telling” them what it looked like.
We all had pretty similar monsters, but they were quick to point out the parts that were different and tell me how I could have chosen better words so they would have drawn it correctly. J That’s when I know they have it!
For the rest of the year when they bring me papers to look at, I simply say “show” me this monster and they know exactly what I’m referring to. It’s really an inspiring process to partake in.
How about you? Do you find yourself “telling” rather than “showing”? What is hardest for you to show rather than tell?