This blog is a place to ruminate on the problems of teaching. If I am thinking thoughtfully, my posts will hopefully raise more questions than answers. By problematizing teaching we reflect on those questions that are constantly behind, in front, and at center of everything we do in the classroom. Feel free to comment. I'd love to hear what other teachers are thinking about on these and other issues.
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Every once in a while
Every once in a while a student does something wonderful that sends my head spinning. Usually, this incident is out of character and even though you hope he'll do this precise thing he's just done some day, you're just not prepared for it when it happens. You hope that it will happen even if you are not the one to witness it. But you don't hold your breath because you might just be disappointed. When it does happen you suck in your breath and hold it there for a moment not believing your ears and your eyes. But, there it is. The moment you've been hoping for: a student takes the initiative to verbalize his appreciation for someone else without being prodded, enticed, encouraged, coached or any of the other things we do in the hopes that, if we do them often enough, they'll stick.
"What a great holiday gift," someone said. So true!
I'm a hoarder.
There, I've said it.
I try to deny that I'm a hoarder but it comes back to haunt me every time I move houses, or pack up my classroom at the end of the school year.
I have old articles, lesson plans, handouts, folders brimming with teaching ideas, past issues of profesional journals. I hardly throw anything out though I've learned to be more selective over the years. My one rule of thumb, and I really try to stick to this, is that if I haven't used or referred to something in a year, then it's time to toss it into the recycle bin. One exception to this rule (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) is past issues of journals from professional organizations. However, with the ability to locate articles online through my professional memberships, even this exception is becoming less and less useful, which brings me to the topic of this blog post.
I am currently reading a copy of The Reading Teacher from 2010. I've clipped a couple of informat…
The strategy lessons highlighted in Chapter 12, Supporting Students’ Conversations –
Speaking, Listening, and Deepening Comprehension, in The Reading
Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo are critical to students’ engagement and comprehension, as well as their ability to write literary essays, or even book reviews, summaries and
reflective pieces about books. If students aren’t able to talk about books in a way that is invigorating and joyful, they
will be less likely to develop an interest in growing ideas for writing about books. In
her introduction to this chapter, Jennifer Serravallo, reminds us that when
conversations go well, children are inspired by what they read and are motivated to keep reading. However,
when conversations fall flat, then kids get bored and tune out. How do we avoid
this situation and teach kids to have focused conversations about books? The answer is easy: teach kids strategies to help them develop effective conversational skills.
I can't get used to saying goodbye to my daughters even though we've been doing it for the past 10 years. You'd think it gets easier, but it doesn't. It still feels like the first time.
Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.They come through you but not from you,And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.* At the airport, I watch families with their young children and try to remember what it was like when my girls were little. What I felt like. What I was doing at the time. What we weren't doing. Was I even aware of the passage of time?
When my kids were little I lived so much in the moment that there was no time to reflect on the fact that our time as a family was measured. Sooner than we were ready, we would have to let them go. Send them on their way. Wish them an abundance of everything, but especially of love, health and joy. They come through you, but not from you.* I nod and smile, a li…