Sunday, March 2, 2014

SOLSC #2 There's no such thing as "end"

I am posting every day during March as part of the annual "Slice of LifeChallenge for Two Writing Teachers.  Check out their website for lots more reflections on teaching.


As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost, we've been in the midst of a very fun Ezra Jack Keats author study. This past week, we celebrated the conclusion of this unit by re-reading and dramatizing many of his books. After lunch on Friday, as we waited for families to come and pick up their children on this half day of school, I spread out all the books we have read and ended up getting a very powerful photograph:

Truly, the children are not done with Ezra Jack Keats. 

I overheard them talking as they look through the books, about
"Peter," "Archie," "Louis," "Roberto,"
"Archie has a cat." [Pet Show]
"Amy lives next door" [Dreams],
"He likes her!" [Apt 3],
"He invited her to a party - you can't say 'boys only' " [A Letter to Amy],
"Louis moved to a new house" [The Trip],
"He is a scary man but now he is a nice man" [Louis],
"Did you see the monsters?" [Hi, Cat!],
"The cat got stuck in the box and the dog was mean," [Dreams]
"Those boys tried to hurt them, but they had a trick!" [Goggles]

I have heard similar snippets as they are playing in the classroom, these past few weeks. 

Maybe my focus is changing. Maybe I'm ready to delve into other topics. But, these little ones are still very much in love with the characters and stories of Ezra Jack Keats. 

This is a beautiful thing to observe,
this engagement,
this learning,
this wonder.

I have no doubt that they will make many more connections as the year goes on.
They will recall special moments.
They will continue to enjoy his books.
They will remind me of details.

There's no such thing as "end.


  1. I did a lit circle unit then turned it into a 90 second Newbery project. I was ready to move onto something new long before they were. And we complain about their attention span!

  2. Thank you! Truly, I believe it is an excellent sign when the children want to continue a speaks to their engagement, the best way to learn!

  3. Until you started sharing more titles, I don't think I remembered the vast number of beautiful books with small lessons that he did, Maureen. It seems that the depth to which you traveled with the children will stay in their memories for a long time. Sweet times!

    1. Thank you, Linda! This is exactly how I feel - that his lessons will stay with the children. The children have been so captivated by his stories, making many sweet connections to their own lives.

  4. reposting comment, (I don't think it posted yesterday)- This statement: "Maybe my focus is changing. Maybe I'm ready to delve into other topics." resonates with me. So often, I am done with a topic and ready to move on. However, the entire point of the unit was to make the children fall in love with... and when they do, I want them to put them to put that love in a pocket, study it in a center or something, so I can get them to fall in love with something else. Haha. Seems so silly now that I think about it.
    There really is no end and your post raises some questions for me. How do I know when to cut off a unit? How do I give kids the space and power to continue on a topic without me?

    Side note: have you seen:

    1. You and I think alike, Latisha! I love hearing children refer back to earlier experiences and I feel certain that means that the learning is "real." I've been trying to listen closely to what they are still talking about and use tangents of this interest as our next exploration - for example, we are now going into "shadows" based on their excitement at the "scary shadows" in Ezra Jack Keats books... Thanks for the link, thanks for your thoughts!!

  5. As a parent, we feel so lucky to be part of the class this year! We've been reenacting and telling the story of John Henry, my guy's favorite Ezra Keats story.