Hard Work

I began a reading unit today focusing on interpretation and analysis of text. My English Major self was all about it. The poem was Caged Bird by Maya Angelou- one of my favorite poets. The unit is a beautiful follow up to the writing we did with the literary essay.

As I explained the shift we were making away from informational text, I heard a few sighs of relief. My fiction obsessed monsters who I “forced” to check out informational books so we could study them, were grateful that the experiment was over.

All I have to say is that for my wholehearted enthusiasm for the unit, the reaction from my students was more attuned to “deer in headlights.” I have seen that look before so I am not afraid. I saw it when I introduced Opinion writing in 3rd grade ( with a ‘thesis’ statement, ) I saw it when I introduced Literary Essay in 4th grade and in 5th and I am seeing it now. I have confidence that we will be ok. It usually only takes a few lessons and some encouragement for the confusion to lessen.

We will get there. It will be chaos for a while, but these 5th graders will get to be analyzing, interpretive superheroes. They just have to trust the ride.


4 thoughts on “Hard Work

  1. The contrast between your “English Major self [who] was all about it” and those fifth graders who stared with the “deer in the headlights” was very funny to me. I spent quite a few years in self-contained fifth grade.


  2. I’ve seen that “deer in the headlights” look with my grade 12’s. Maya Angelou is wonderful. I like to read her “And Still I Rise” with my students, though they don’t always appreciate it.


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