Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lessons from Ms. Bixby

Have you read it yet?

If not, head to the library right now - oh, forget it. Get it at the book store - you'll want it for your classroom!!

A huge thank you to Michelle Gledhill, who shared pages 25-26 with our seventh graders, where Brand details the time he picked his friend's nose... That was the hook that got me to read this one.

The same author as Posted, which I read this summer (and had to purchase for room 239 readers, as well), Ms. Bixby's Last Day is a story you want to last and last. It's got everything. From Iron Maiden to Tchaikovsky, from "The Princess Bride" to To Kill a Mockingbird, and of course, the Beatles, April Fool's pranks, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," "Star Wars," legos, and The Hobbit. On page five, Topher begins to explain the six kinds of teachers in the world, and he's spot on. You know them, and you probably are one of them: Zombies, Caff-Adds (or Zuzzers), Dungeon Masters, Spielbergs, Noobs, and the Good Ones.

Ms. Bixby, of course, was one of the Good Ones. Which is why I was surprised when I came to the conversation about grades she had with a parent who was upset with his child's "B" grade. (Pgs 86-89) Steve's dad has a meeting with Ms. Bixby... (If you can't read it, try clicking on the photo to make it bigger. Or, better yet, go grab the book.)

Lessons (Re-)Learned...
  • Parents and teachers want children to learn.
  • Parents and teachers care about their children.
  • Parents and teachers sometimes think differently about what a grade means.
  • I wish parents and teachers could stop talking about grades, and only talk about learning and progress.
  • I feel like I'm in good company with Ms. Bixby.

Pick up this book.
Give it a read.
Give it to someone else to read.
Read it aloud to your class.
You won't regret it.

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