Rules of Rulers-A Writing Workshop Lesson

Writing workshop is one of my favorite parts of each day with the schoolhouse kids.
I mean, what's not to love?
It's just this tiny little blurb of a lesson right before writing time that allows them to learn something useful that they may not have (probably didn't) know before and apply it to their writing while it's still fresh in their minds.

We've had a few informal themes running during our Back To School Kickoff Week (reloaded because we extended it by popular demand into this week as well--it ends today). They include school tools, back to school, apples, Africa, imagination, colors, and much more.  I hope the work we've done so far with said themes allows the kids to take away learning that will last a lifetime and can be easily built upon with future experiences, whether they happen at The English Schoolhouse or elsewhere.

Last week I mentioned the importance (in my opinion) of students being thoroughly introduced to tools and materials they can find in the school environment and being given the opportunity to explore with and use them.

Yesterday during writing workshop I pulled out these...
And asked the students, who happen to be a mix of mother tongue English and Italian-dominant speakers, what they were. No one knew. Love it when that happens.

So we took the rulers out, handled them a bit, and talked about what they are, what they do, and what they should not do (i.e. swatting a fly or a friend).

I modeled some things they could do with the marvelous straight edges a ruler can assist in making--

 And set them free to write. I placed the rulers in the middle of the table with the other writing utensils that are normally there and invited them to use them while writing and illustrating.

Some did.

Some didn't. Including me.

Then we shared. I shared first, for modeling purposes. They loved the planet Fulaboolagigglepop part, which is a sneaky lesson in itself...about using your imagination when writing. No explanation needed.

When it was time for someone to volunteer to ask me a question or comment about what I'd written, Leo raised his hand and I called on him.
"Yes, Leo?"
"It's beautiful. Funny."
"Thank you, Leo."

 As a teacher, I think you know you're an active part of the learning environment when the kids' feedback makes you feel like your feedback makes them feel.

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