Skip to main content

Accreditation Visit - a Celebration

It's Tuesday Slice of Life at the Two Writing Teachers!
I am so happy to be here!

Today is the second day of our Accreditation Visit and, if you've ever participated in this process, you may remember how stressful the time leading up to the visit can be.

We've spent about a year, or more, doing a self-study. We've looked deeply into our school, extrapolating beyond our particular grade level, to come up with an "average" score for the whole school in a wide range of categories from teaching and learning to staff culture to human resources and more. It has been an interesting process for sure! This week our visiting team is here to verify the findings of our self-study, including our recommendations for improvement. They are meeting with groups of teachers, staff, students, parents and other school members.

They are also visiting classrooms.

Today two team members came into my classroom during writing workshop and reading workshop, respectively. One of them stayed for a short while and then left. The other one stayed longer...until we had to "duck and cover" for an earthquake drill!

Before the unannounced drill happened we had a good chunk of time in reading workshop. First, we did our daily reading status check in. We went around the circle and everyone stated the title of the book they had read the night before and what page they were on. I wrote this information on each child's calendar page. Then, students had two to three minutes to talk with a partner about their reading. Afterwards, I read the beginning of I Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech in celebration of National Poetry Month.



At this point, my students engaged in a spontaneous conversation about Love that Dog, also by Sharon Creech, with contagious enthusiasm. A few students asked to borrow a copy of each book since there are multiple copies in the classroom. I guess they'd never noticed them before! Next, everyone went off to read independently while I conferred with students. This transition can be tricky sometimes because it takes my students a few minutes to settle into their reading.

Two boys decided to read the one classroom copy of Love that Dog together. Initially, I applauded their initiative until I observed the two boys in the corner...One of them, the reader, was seating in a comfy chair, while the other boy simply sat on the floor and doodled on sticky notes. It was hard to tell if the listener was really listening to the reader who happily read away, oblivious to the listener. At that moment, I decided that tomorrow I will meet with these boys first thing to discuss what reading with a partner might look like.

I hope the member of the accreditation team noticed the following:

  • the intensity of the conversations about Sharon Creech's books, 
  • kids talking about their self-selected books with partners,
  • kids directing questions and comments to each other during the whole class check in,
  • the way kids found their reading spots quickly,
  • that one boy asked if he could take his book outside during the earthquake drill (she couldn't know that he was one my reluctant readers at the beginning of the year).
She also couldn't know that this community of readers didn't look anything like this at the beginning of the year.  It has taken a long time to get to this point. Maybe longer than other groups from other years. 

But, here we are. 
It's April 4th. 
And we've made it. 
We're going strong. 
I am so proud of how far we've come together. 

Can I freeze this moment? 
Maybe not. 
We're still evolving.
And, I am celebrating.

So happy to be here.



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Teacher I Want to Be

The
I have been dismayed to realize that despite my self-image as a teacher with a learner centered classroom, I am far from truly achieving that goal. 

I have been listening carefully to myself lately, and I don't like what I hear myself saying to the kids. Instead of empowering my students to take ownership of their learning, I am still the director on the stage. I still ask leading questions rather than ones that push the learner to figure things out for herself. I realize I often spoon feed my students hopeful that they will give me the answer I'm looking for. An answer that will make my job easier. Answers that will fit with what I expect students to say despite the fact that 30 years in education has taught me nothing if not that students are unpredictable, and if we prepare for anything, that is what we should be prepared for. 
Teacher
An anecdote. The other day I was talking with a student about the fact that she was abandoning more books than she was finishing. I was as…

Searching for Balance

I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple of days. 
And, I've come to the conclusion that I must change my attitude - shift my stance - so I can assume a new perspective. So that I am more aligned with what's important and may add value to my life.  
Focusing on the negative is not making me stronger or healthier. In fact, I am often stressed because I worry a lot about unimportant things. I obsess over situations out of my control. I dismiss positive experiences that would help lift my spirits and align my focus towards what's important. 
I need a distraction from my own thoughts.
I need balance in my life. Not because I work hard to prepare my classes. Not because I read a lot of professional literature. Not because I wrote a lot this summer and will continue to do so now that school has started. But because I have been obsessing on the wrong things. Mostly, I obsess about what someone said or did and what it says about me as a teacher. I obsess about …

Sitting in My Usual Spot

I am sitting in my usual spot.
At least it has been my usual spot for about a week now.
It has become my work space.
It's where I sit to participate in online summer PD activities.
It's where I read.
It's where I write.

My usual spot is in a corner of the couch.
The arm rest is unusually wide.
I can pile my books, notebooks and even my laptop there.
And, I do.

I used to have a more conventional work space,
but then my husband, who works from home,
and was struggling to stick to his side of the desk,
finally spread out,
invading my work space.

One day, after many attempts at getting organized,
and not succeeding,
he told me that he was going to add an extension to our house,
so I could have my own work space.
I told him it was cheaper to tidy up.
That was months ago.

Before claiming my usual spot,
I set up a temporary, wobbly table against a wall in my bedroom
for a work space.
I used that for a few months.
Not ideal, but better than nothing.

I've reclaimed my conventio…