I have many colors in my hat with one of them being a proud union member.  Our local union suggested each school take a turn attending two school board meetings per year. It was my building’s turn tonight.  Earlier, someone suggested sharing a highlight or two from our classroom. I immediately thought, I can do that.  Then came the hard part–deciding what to say and how to say it.

When my students encounter this same struggle, I suggest they use a mentor text.  Many times I provide a few or sometimes they find one themselves.  I decided I would take my own advice, and I’m generally happy with the end result.

Thank you to Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie for inspiration.

If you give an 8th grade a Chromebook…

They will use it to find additional information such as statistics to support their argument.

When using those statistics, they will be reminded by the teacher to check the credibility of the source they are using.

When checking the credibility of a source, they will use higher-order thinking skills.

When using higher-order thinking skills, they become critical consumers.

When they are critical consumers, they learn to question everything, including the teacher in the room.

When questioning the teacher in the room, they are reminded to think about their audience and purpose.

When thinking about audience and purpose, they will determine the best method of communicating their message.

When communicating their message, they might decide a note on paper is best.

When thinking about writing a note on paper instead of on the Chromebook, they will be reminded of a favorite class period–Monday Reading Zone.

When thinking of Monday Reading Zone, they will pull out their Chromebook and use the MeL.org database NoveList K-8 to find a new book to read.

When looking for the new book and not finding it in the classroom library, they will ask to visit the school library.

When they visit the library, they will find the book.

When checking out the book, they will be thankful for books printed on paper because the majority of them still prefer the paper copy.

When they return to the classroom, I am thankful for the support our Board has provided. How?

By allowing me the freedom to not use a required, scripted program;

By allowing me to provide students time to “just” read;

By staffing our school library with para-professionals, and

By supporting 1:1 technology.

Your support in these areas have helped me be a better teacher for the students who enter my classroom.  Thank you.

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