Wow!  I have been put on an amazing middle school team next year; come late August, I'll be teaching language arts (6th-8th grade), while the three other teachers of my team will be teaching the science, math, and history to the same group.  We will have these kids for three years, which I think is an amazing way to teach, especially when I think of the high-quality teaching that I know will come from the classrooms of  Kelly, Holly, and Sue--my three brand new colleagues next year.  I seriously am in a "dream teaching situation" next year.

One of our team's goals is for our students to maintain separate notebooks/learning logs for all four of their core classes.  With all the writer's notebook materials that I've been developing over the past three years, my kids and I will be set with this requirement in English class, but I know content-based notebooks (kept in the style and spirit of Ralph Fletcher) will be a fairly new concept for my teaching teammates.

In science, math, and social studies, you want students' notebooks to be a place where they can a) summarize content-based learning in their own words (no regurgitation!) and b) reflect on that content morally, ethically, and/or creatively--through a combination of visuals and words.

I am, therefore, working on some brand new writing across the curriculum challenges that I can establish/teach in language arts class so that my teaching teammates--once I've given the kids the format--can then start requiring the same students to use the same format with their different content.

Just finished a new one!  "16-word poems" inspired by William Carlos Williams' famous poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow."  You can read my whole lesson (still kind of in draft form) on-line here:

What I'm doing differently now, knowing that I have these three amazing colleagues, is I am making sure I have teacher models of notebook pages that reflect all four core areas.  This way, my students--in Language Arts--will have already tried my writing challenges with the content of my colleagues' classes before leaving my class.

Here is the "Writing Across the Curriculum"-inspired teacher model that goes with my 16-word poem assignment.  This is a new concept for me to plan for.  I am actually having a great time thinking/planning this way!

Click here for the whole lesson write-up.

It probably sounds sick to say this, being that it's July 15th: I can hardly wait for the new school year to start!



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