Keeping them learning even when they think they don't want to | Mentoring in the Middle

Keeping them learning even when they think they don't want to

Oh my, oh my.  What is it about post-testing time that is both so wonderful and so challenging?  Some of my students are feeling like they're done with the year, and I am OH SO NOT ready to let go there.  So, like many of you, this is when learning comes with more hands-on options.
Joanne, over at Head over Heels for Teaching talked about letting kids use dry-erase markers on their desks.  What a great idea!  I'm going to have to try that, in a corner of a student desk when no one's around, just to make sure.  But I love it!

Here's what my kids have been working on.  We're reading about Sojourner, the first rover to land on Mars, and after much discussion about space and space travel (and some great videos from the International Space Station!) we were ready to make our own landers.  The students worked in groups of three and had a ton of fun, trying out ideas and testing them, all in preparation for LAUNCH DAY!

I love this one because you can see the girl on the ground wanting to help the lander in it's descent! It was a great way to make them connect to this particular story!

On another completely different note....yeah, I know.  Random thoughts strung together don't always make sense!  

I went with a friend to the Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale, which is always a great way to refresh your library.  My friend picked up this book and said, "This is totally you!"
Oh. My. Word.  This woman is my twin.  Only she provides good reasons for why I do what I do, and sometimes, I just do it because I think it's the right thing to do.  If you think that reading is good practice for becoming smart, read this book.  I guarantee you'll find yourself nodding in agreement all (okay, most) of the way through.

Happy reading!  And happy leading your students into the end of the year!


  1. Love The Book Whisperer. She has a new book coming out this summer...can't wait to read it!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. Okay first of all, I bet your kids loved that activity. It looks like so much fun! :)

    Next, I absolutely love everything that Donalyn Miller says. She is a phenomenal inspiration to reading teachers as well as readers in general. I posted about her several weeks ago and I basically structure my entire ELA block around her. The Book Whisperer changed my career. So glad you found it. :) I wish every teacher would read it. :)
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

    1. I'm so glad to hear that! I'm loving what I've read so far (I'm about halfway through) and my little brain is already buzzing with how I'm going to tweak things next year!

  3. I love your project Launch Day! I bet your kids are so excited! Do you know I haven't read The Book Whisperer, but I'm planning on going to the Scholastic Sale Wednesday or Thursday, so I'll look for it! Thanks for linking up and sharing!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  4. I definitely need to read The Book Whisperer this summer. I keep hearing how great it is !
    Literacy Spark

  5. I have The Book Whisperer on my shelf, ready for a summer read. Thanks for the motivation.
    And, speaking of motivation, your Lander activity sounds wonderful! Looks like it fostered deep level thinking AND collaboration. That's a double win in my book!
    Good luck in winding down the year...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    1. It was a ton of fun, Kim, and required a lot of collaboration. They had to work in teams of three, which amazingly, worked out for all three classes except one, where they asked if they could be a team of four to pick up the extra kid (don't you love it when they solve the problem without you?)
      Happy endings to you, too!