One of the best parts of being an English teacher is that geeking out over words is actually my job.In our workshop model, attendance is so important.
Students just have to be in class, and there aren’t many times that they can just take off for the bathroom/nurse/guidance/etc. without all of us waiting on them to return. Because “being there” is so important in this instructional model, my students receive three bathroom passes at the beginning of each semester (yes, just three) to use at their discretion…but they also have opportunities to earn more passes for literacy-related activities. One way my students earn passes is by pulling lines they love from their choice books, their assigned books, from songs, from their own pieces of writing…and even from the random things I say during class that they think are funny.
They write their lines on a green leaf and staple them onto our giant packing-paper tree. By the end of this year, I imagine that this tree will probably outgrow the bulletin board and expand onto the walls.
(At the end of the year, leftover and hoarded bathroom passes get rolled into a raffle for Barnes & Noble gift cards, so even students who don’t necessarily want or need passes are motivated to help our tree grow!)
The lines they choose to display will make great writing prompts too. I’m about to do a major whole-classroom move into a different hallway, which will involve taking this tree down, leaving many of these leaves accessible for analysis during our quickwrite time.
As much as I’m not looking forward to act of moving, I am looking forward to pulling this tree apart, reflecting, and then replanting it in our new classroom.