Reboot 1

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Interesting, inspirational, and important professional development has saved my teaching life on many occasions.  This past weekend, it happened again.  I attended the Fall Conference of the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project and left with ideas, plans, and lessons I couldn’t wait to try out.

One of my favorites came from a young teacher, Sam Gesford, from Shenandoah County.  He demonstrated a metaphor lesson that went like this:

If I were an a)____________ I would be a b) ___________ because c)_______________.

Possibilities for a) include:

  • color
  • holiday
  • vehicle
  • animal
  • food item
  • OR choose your own adventure

Patrick said, “If I were a vehicle, I would be a limo because I store very important things.”

Milee said she was Halloween because “you don’t want to be on my bad side!”

Khalil would be “a Tesla X Type because I go from 0-60 in 29 seconds.’

Students were encouraged to share their metaphors with their families. In Sam’s demo lesson, our writing ‘partner’ wrote a metaphor about our writing as a response. In class, I asked the students to ask an adult family member to respond with a metaphor.  Danielle’s older brother wrote, “Your writing is a fan because it never stops.”

Addison’s Mom wrote, “Your writing is sunshine because it makes me feel warm inside.”

Some of the metaphors were more confessional…

“If I were a color, I’d be red because sometimes I rage really hard.” admitted Jake. 


Sarah confessed, ” If I were a food item, I would be ice cream because I am cold-blooded.” 

Metaphors are hard. They are especially hard for kids that are 11 and 12 years old. Sam’s lesson was fun and engaging and all of my students have a much firmer grasp on the concept then they did before.  That’s what professional development should be – but so often is not.

Teachers teaching teachers. Teachers teaching kids. It doesn’t get any better than that.