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Showing posts from October, 2013

Me and Matilda

I am an orphan.

But not in the typical way we think of an orphan. I mean, I have a mother and a brother. I had a father. I grew up with them, spent time with them, and we spoke often on the phone once I moved away from home. I've never lived close enough to drop by whenever I wanted to. And, maybe that was the point

Yet, I feel like an orphan.

I am Matilda.

How many times have I read Matilda by Roald Dahl with my children and/or seen the move? Yet, it was only during a recent viewing that a bell went off in my head, loud and clear: I am Matilda. And, like Matilda, I was born into the wrong family. Is that even possible? I mean, after all, Matilda is a creation of Roald Dahl's very amazing imagination. Yet, every time I think about it, I can't help but confirm this fact.

I am an orphan.

Maybe that's why I never felt comfortable or accepted in my own family. I was never treated as carelessly by my family as Matilda is treated by hers, but I never felt understood or suppo…

A Beginning List on the Don't and Do's of Reading Workshop

As I visit classrooms during the Reading Workshop time, I witness practices that are counterproductive to supporting students' reading habits. I made up the following two lists to sort this out in my head and to use when I work with teachers.

What NOT to do during Reading Workshop:

interrupt independent reading to talk to students about an assignment.sit at your desk to catch up on paperwork or to answer emails.give kids 10 minutes of independent reading one day and 45 minutes on another day. Make it consistent so students can plan for their reading.abruptly stop kids' reading without a warning. Instead, allow them to find a logical stopping place before transitioning into a new activity.treat independent reading as a choice among many. Independent reading should be something everybody does on a daily basis.always tie reading to a "project" and a grade.use the independent reading time to go to the library. This should be reserved for another time. What TO DO during Re…

Random Noticings

I noticed that if I am proactive and act "as if" I am entitled to this or that resource or tool, then it will happen. I just need to state my case. Is it about being confident even when you don't feel confident? Probably. Does it work? It sure does! Somewhere, a long time ago, I read about taking this stance with students with the promise that they would rise to the occasion. And, guess what? They did. If a student has a reputation for getting into trouble, for example, you might address the issue by saying something like, "I know this is not like you. You are not the kind of person that does this." Act as if. It will produce great results!

I noticed that by taking care of things right away, I am less likely to have items pile up on my "to do" list. In fact, my "to do" list can be an always diminishing entity. Although this is common sense, I don't put it into practice. Instead, I end up on a tight deadline. My new resolve is to bask in …

Noticing and Taking Note

Angela Maiers, in this TED talk, recommends that we take note of what we notice. And, by taking note, I think Angela means taking the time to appreciate everything that happens every day. There are many noteworthy things to notice and we need to take the time to appreciate that which we notice. For me, this means naming the noticing and writing about it as a way to reflect on it. Writing serves as a reminder that things matter, people matter, and that what I think about all of this matters a lot.

Yet, I notice so many things but I rarely take note of anything.

Writing about what I notice sometimes feels beside the point. Ostentatious. Unimportant. Too much work. But, I know that the act of writing, no matter the topic, gets me to writing that really matters. I also know that for this to happen, I need to establish a regular writing habit. Daily is best, even if it's just for 15 minutes at a time. And, I have to protect that time at all costs. Surely I can find 15 minutes every day…