Our students have been back in school for two weeks now. For many other places, they are just going back (or getting ready to go back). The beginning of school is a time of reflection. This week’s three things I read worth sharing helped me be more reflective of my practice.
1. Risk-taking in the Writer’s Notebook by Lanny Ball
This is a beautifully written blog on our responsibilities as teachers to take risks in our own writing so that students take risk in their writing. She talks about how taking risks is where learning happens.
The point here is, if you are a writing workshop teacher, a writer’s notebook is likely a structure you harness in your classroom. And you likely build language around the value of this tool because you believe it to be instrumental in supporting student writing improvement. This year, consider being a stand and a model for experimenting and risk-taking in the notebook.
2. Ten Ways to Ditch the Reading Log by Heather Marshall
What I love most about this blog post is that she not only suggests alternative (and authentic) ways to see what kids are reading, but she also posts pictures and videos of student work. This is someone who is really doing the work and sharing it with us!
When I read a book that I really enjoy, I want to share it with others. I do not show them my reading log and say, “Hey you should read this, it’s really good.” I want them to read it too, so that we can talk about it. So I had to ask myself, “Why exactly do I assign students to record pages, titles, summaries, and minutes of reading on a worksheet?” I want them to read, but how is this table with parent signatures making them want to read?
3. The Most Important Thing by John Spence
This is a short TEDTalk. While he talks about finding success in college and in life, I think there are many implications for finding success as teachers. We have to be aware and intentional in the choices we make in our professional life as well as our personal life. And our choices should be focused on honing our craft so we can be the best teachers possible for our students.
The single most important things I’ve learned … you become what you focus on and you become like the people you spend time with.