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Monday, June 24, 2013

Writing About Toga

My last day with my kindergarten kids was last Friday, but today and tomorrow, teachers need to go to school for staff development.  Our school district is getting a new reading program, which is aligned to Common Core.  This morning, with temperatures in the 90's, no air conditioning, and a somewhat disorganized morning of presenting from our presenter, it was a relief to be in an air-conditioning restaurant for lunch.  After lunch, the task of cleaning and organizing our classrooms seemed impossible, since we were back in our sweaty classrooms.  Nobody wanted to move or work.

I was in good shape.  My two children came to my classroom after school on Friday and helped me to organize and clean.  As I was scanning my classroom for last minute pick-ups and cleaning jobs, I saw the anchor chart I wrote in front of my class about revising with peers, taped to my wall.  I wrote a two sentence story about my dog, Toga.  Then, the kids asked me question after question about my writing, about my dog and they begged for more details.  I revised my writing, added lots of supporting details with their suggestions.

My dog Toga passed away in mid-May, and taking down my anchor chart about him was so difficult to do.  Toga has always been my fun topic to write about in my Writer's Workshop mini-lessons.  My last 13 classes have known him, have laughed at my stories about him, and he has became my classroom mascot.  When he was a  puppy, I used to bring my shoes that he chewed up to school and wrote about how mad I was at him.  I wrote about how he climbed on our dining room table when he was left home alone, and ate a dozen cupcakes, even the cupcake liners!  My students have learned to put spaces between their words, stretching their words out, use using juicer words, and add supporting details to their writing;  all with my modeling, and usually it was a writing piece about Toga.

Taking down my chart paper and realizing that I would no longer be writing about Toga in the present tense was very emotional for me.  It was like grieving him all over today.  I miss my little buddy.

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