But first, I have to share a moment I had recently. I absolutely LOVE when my students have aha moments! Luckily, I also had one myself! I've been reading DIY Literacy and have had some good ideas on how to implement some of the tools in ways that I am not already using them. However, most of my ideas have been in relation to Writer's Workshop. As I was reading The Reading Strategies Book at the pool, it hit me! OMG, I could create a demonstration notebook for some of the strategies highlighted in Serravallo's book! EEK!! How awesome would that be to pull it out when conferencing with readers or working in a guided reading group?!?! AHA!! I am planning on adding this to my to do list before heading back to school.
- "When we find ways to differentiate that conserve our energy, we are able to do more than just deliver lessons. We are able to imbue our teaching with the best part of ourselves--our love for the kids, our sense of humor, our deep compassion for students and the world." (P. 72) The idea of using these teaching tools, especially the demonstration notebook, allow us to SAVE time! What?! While, at the same time allowing us to spend our classroom time meeting each child's needs in the best ways possible!
- Real time assessments (P. 79) In an era of testing, it is always nice to hear affirmation that observations and real time assessments are essential to really understanding where your students are and where to take them next. The text suggests polling your students, looking at student growth, looking for students struggling, and looking at student engagement.
- "We are outnumbered. And while we might like to think that we can get to everyone every day (or every other day, or every week), the truth is that all too often we cannot...Teaching tools offer students support and inspiration when we can't be by their side" (P. 86) This serves as a reminder that it is OK. No one can be superman, flying around from student to student while providing quality instruction. Students need tools to aide in independence when we aren't there to help out. While, I feel as though I do a great job of this during Writer's Workshop, I am not sure that I force students to use these tools during other parts of the day. Instead, I am always trying to jump in and help. It is a good reminder to provide students with the tools and allow them to become more independent!
- I LOVED the problem/suggestion section in chapter 6. Pop culture, using kid friendly voices, asking experts were all points that I will continue to use in my teaching in order to help students stay engaged, using their tools, and hopefully building independence.
- For the perfectionist ME- "But in the end, it is far, far more important that teaching tools be helpful to kids, not attractive. When kids are involved in creating the tools, even in the small ways, you'll cultivate a spirit of ownership and creativity that you just can't buy." (P. 104) Although, I have "cute" handwriting and posters, this serves as a GREAT reminder. It is NOT about what it looks like. It is about how the students use the tool. Does it promote independence? Does it help my student to grow as a reader and writer? That is the goal!
I've enjoyed being a part of #CyperPD and reading this book. It has sparked some great conversation and allowed me to reflect on my teaching and teaching tools. I look forward to implementing some of these great ideas this fall! Happy teaching!