Perspectives

Writing Teachers Learning from the Process

I just finished an intensive two weeks with the Columbus Area Writing Project where a group of seven of us met every day to write and give each other feedback on chapters we are writing for a book.  We wrote for 2 1/2 hours each morning and then met for feedback in the afternoon.
 
As the group leader, I took on the role of editor, something new for me. When taking on any new role, I am always a little uncomfortable. These were my friends and colleagues I was working with. 
 
Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Capacity Building: Inquiry Stance
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Writing
  • Topics: Risk Taking
  •  
    Dru Tomlin, director of middle level services for the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), is a great believer in the narrative as "an act of restoration and rejuvenation." In fact, he claims that the classic plot diagram is the perfect tool to help us examine our own school and classroom stories as well—to both "look back and plan ahead."
     
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Capacity Building: Inquiry Stance
  • Knowing students in our learning community is the first step to purposeful instruction.  It took years of experience for me to learn how to make meaning from formative assessment and use the information to guide instruction.  Eventually I learned this process needed to start before the school year officially began and that getting to know my students meant more than looking at scores from the year before.

    Topics:
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Assessment , Reading
  • Level: Elementary
  • Capacity Building: Using Evidence
  • I want to include you in a celebration of the work of a student that represents several of my kids this year. If you teach, or have taught, ELL students, I know you will understand.

    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Writing
  • We thank author Jennifer Isgitt of the North Star Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction group for allowing us to share this blog more widely with the NCLE community.

     
    Followers of the Learning Forward blog know that we changed our name several years ago from the National Staff Development Council to Learning Forward. Later this year, we'll reach the five-year anniversary of the new name. As I reflect on those years, I think about some of the learning I've seen in schools and districts that leads me to ask, "Are you learning forward or backward?"
     
    Here are some examples of what I feel are backward learning activities:
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Capacity Building: Systemic Support
  • I always worry that, as a literacy coach, I make math teachers nervous. And honestly, it’s probably reasonable—too often, coaches like me (I should note that I’m guilty of this too), move into conversations with facilitators without a real understanding of math as a content area. In addition, we sometimes coach math teachers to do things that don’t support students’ development of math knowledge and skills.
     
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Content Areas: Mathematics
  • If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that I advocate for self-selected reading in all English classes. My students read stacks of books each year that they choose for themselves, and they read four titles for in-class book clubs that they select from my short stack of complex (mostly) contemporary titles.
     
    The question I get the most from teachers who do not practice this choice pedagogy is “How do you know your students are reading?”
     
    Topics:
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Literature, Reading, Speaking, Writing
  • Cover to Cover

    This text was reprinted with permission from Craig Vroom's blog (April 10, 2015).
     
    As part of the blogging group, the #compelledtribe, we are sharing with our readers something new we attempted in our work this year to better ourselves as educators. I would encourage you to reflect on your year and do the same. We often times overlook the obvious so you may be surprised at all that you accomplished. 
     
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Reading
  •  
    When I was a local school board member, parents frequently asked for my advice on how to ensure their child got a particular teacher in a school. I knew how the game would be played after I reminded them this wasn't the role of the school board: They would write the principal with their requests for the next year. The principal would respond to assure the parents that no matter which classroom their child was assigned, he or she would have a great year.
     
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • How To Be a Teacher Leader

    CTQ blogger Sandy Merz recently posted “My Teacher Leader Manifesto” and challenged teacher leaders to write theirs. Instead of writing a manifesto, I decided to write a few thoughts about how one might become a teacher leader in his or her department, school or district. These are some of the steps I have taken to develop as a teacher leader.
     
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Capacity Building: Inquiry Stance
  • Albert Einstein's birthday, March 14, is past now, but we figure any time is a good time to celebrate the processes of questioning and inquiry. This text is reprinted with permission from Tom Marshall's blog Lit Together. 
     
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Capacity Building: Inquiry Stance
  • I cleaned the season’s first melted chapstick out of my car yesterday. Summer must be around the corner. Time to check the expiration date on last year’s sunscreen and buy some new flip-flops.
     
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Reading
  • The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently issued the report, Teacher Leadership: The Pathway to Common Core Success, listing the following recommendations:
    • Create teacher leadership roles at the classroom, school, and district levels.
    • Allocate time for teachers to collaborate.
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Gratitude for Teacher Teams

    As Teacher Appreciation Week moves into full swing, I find myself thinking of the many teachers who have touched my life in important ways. As a student, I can point to Mr. Roper, my sixth-grade teacher in Mary Esther, Florida. I never had the chance to tell him how much he influenced who I would become as a teacher. I treasured the read-aloud of Marjorie K. Rawlings's The Yearling and what I now know to be guided reading practices that he put into practice on a regular basis.

     
    “My biggest struggle right now is that I have 36 students in each class (60 min periods). There’s not an empty seat in the room! Any ideas?”
     
    Maybe this sounds like you. I’ve been there –trying everything to make workshop work in my over-flowing freshman and sophomore classes. Last year I had 38 sophomores in my 8th period. Talk about ending the day exhausted.
     
    Topics:
  • File Type: Text
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Reading, Speaking, Writing
  • Día means “day” in Spanish. In 1996, author Pat Mora learned about the Mexican tradition of celebrating April 30th as El día del niño, the day of the child. Pat thought, “We have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Yes!