My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

March 13, 2017

Prior knowledge...activated! #SOLC17

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Two Writing Teachers
It was easy to get back into my small group reading routine today.  
Nearly all of my students came 
bursting into my little room, eager to get back to 
30 minutes out of their classroom to talk my ear off (otherwise known as "reading intervention").

My 5th graders were pretty chilled out due to the time change.  Our next text in the LLI red intervention kit was Six Snakes That Share Our World.

Little did I know that I have a huge snake fan in my small group, G.

G has not had the easiest time transitioning from English to Spanish, especially because our district's bilingual program currently ends after second grade.  G has great ideas, but decoding gets in his way.  He is soft-spoken and very curious.  I had no idea how a text about snakes would light up this kiddo's brain.

G started the conversation about snakes (pythons versus boas, what they eat, how they move).  Then J and C even chimed in with more facts.  We previewed the pages, and C noticed a map that noted there are no snakes found in Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Antarctica or New Zealand.  The facts and questions and discussion was happening so quickly, I could barely keep up.

"I think Kakapos (the New Zealand bird we read about last week) are not threatened by snakes, based on this map," stated C.


I looked at K, the only girl.  Even she had lots of questions for the snake crew.
"Did you hear him?" I asked her.  "I need to drop the mic!"
"Here, Mrs. Rayner," K handed me a pencil and smiled. "You can do a pencil drop!"

Here's to my students showing their genious.  Even after a week of PARCC testing.  Even after losing an hour of sleep this weekend.  Even if it took a book about snakes (ewwwww).


  1. I love this story so much! It's so exciting when the right topic ignites the right student. Yay!

  2. It just takes the right subject to get them talking and sharing.