I always think of January as the worst month of the year. Don’t tell my daughter. January is her birth month. January, to me, is a month of dreary, gray skies, cold days, colder nights, and lots of indoor recess. It is with no days off, and it’s an uphill hike until the next school break. I love knowing that January is coming to an end and the sun will be returning soon. True to form, February brought us a lovely sunny day today. Though a big storm is looming on the horizon, the kids actually got to play in the sun today!
But January also means we have hit our stride in my classroom. Everyone knows the routine. Everyone has adjusted to my Writing Workshop methods (most people in my school give directed writing assignments) and everyone is enjoying “We can write about whatever we want?” freedom. What once felt daunting, now feels like a great bonus.
Most years I start with non-fiction writing genres in the fall. It’s more accessible to the students, I think, and gives us a positive start to the year. But this year, they fancied themselves to be story writers. I adjusted my plans and we have been writing stories of one sort or another for the past few months.
Yesterday we started looking at non-fiction books as writers. We started noticing the common characteristics included in a non-fiction book, common writing topics, and we talked about how people choose their non-fiction writing topics. They are pretty excited, and not just because I read them the book “Whose Butt?” to highlight one way an author might choose a topic. *
So I suppose I shouldn’t hold a grudge against January for too long. Perhaps I should spend more time appreciating the good things happening in the classroom.
*”Whose Butt” is a book by wildlife photographer Tekiela. He starts the book by explaining that taking pictures of animals is hard and he gets more pictures of their bums than their faces because they are always running away. Each set of pages is a picture of a bum/tail and a clue. On the next set of pages, we learn who the tail belongs to, and a few facts to go along with it. I highly recommend this book! Enjoyed by all. :)