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Writing Through 2020

Writing Through 2020

Written by Jennifer Sanchez
April 19, 2021

Writing Through 2020

Hello my name is Jennifer Sanchez, I am a second-year teacher teaching at Jefferson Elementary in second grade. I completed my Liberal Studies BA at Fresno State and did my student teaching residency in Sanger at Jefferson Elementary. 

My journey with the San Joaquin Valley writing project began in the summer of 2020. I truly enjoyed our summer class especially because of its relevance with culture and diversity. Our professors were extremely knowledgeable and very helpful. They helped us create a unit that was culturally relevant for our students. I decided to create a unit about the history of the San Joaquin Valley and how important farmworkers are to our economy and life here. I’m disappointed because I was not able to use my unit this year due to the circumstances of this year. 

Our monthly meetings with Marci have been a safe environment to seek help and vent a little bit. Marci has shown us the importance of taking time for ourselves so you are 100% there for your students. She gives us the opportunity to seek help and recommendations from each other. I appreciate Marci’s knowledge in primary books. She has helped me by recommending picture books that I can use as mentor texts for units in my class. 

I was lucky to have another Panda fellow at my school site. He’s a fifth grade teacher and I am a second grade teacher. We live in totally different worlds at work. The NWP has definitely brought us closer. We took a while to plan out our literacy night. We decided on a young authors theme. We usually plan and implement this event everywhere but because of our closure and COVID restrictions we did not plan to have it this year. Rudy and I decided to have the event. With our $500 we purchased coloring utensils, photo books for their stories, prizes such as board games and gift cards, and t-shirts to remember the event. We had such a great outcome, parents were very involved. Students wrote stories about their families, some wrote about their grandparents, parents, pets, and siblings. We created QR codes of each student reading their story that parents can scan and view. In order to complete their stories we met with students after school every Tuesday. During our Zoom event, we had many parents join. It was such an amazing event, parents became emotional and expressed how much they loved helping their child write and being a part of their education. There were tears and lots of smiles. Overall it was such a wonderful experience we hope to have it again next school year. 

In the future I hope to continue participating in the National Writing Project. I also hope to continue my growth and development as a teacher. I will do this by enrolling in courses through the University. I will also create new units that integrate social emotional learning, writing, and grade level subject matter.