Archive for category Research that Supports Workshop

It’s Monday! What Are you Reading?

See this? These are the books I brought home to read this summer. The crate is full of YA literature, mostly early releases I picked up in the exhibit hall at ALAN in May. I probably left there with 100 books. I think I’ve read one. I also have a tall stack of ORCA Soundings, short edgy books for reluctant and slow readers, in that crate somewhere. I’ve read two so far, and yep, they are edgy. I think my hostile readers will love them.I know if I want to get my students to read, I have to be a reader. But this is not how I want to spend my summer. I want to read me books:  mystery, adventure, romance…you know, reader candy, books that I devour quite simply for the sweetness of the story.

I do not think there is enough time in my summer days to do both.

In the bag on the right are my book resources for curriculum writing. There’s a whole shelf in my classroom empty because I may need these trusty friends. I am spearheading re-writing 9th grade curriculum to more effectively meet student needs as EOC/STAAR tests threaten to destroy us. (Okay, that’s over-statement, but still…our scores this spring were dismal.)  A favorite? I’ve become a disciple of Jeff Anderson and praise his book 10 Things Every Writer Should Know every chance I get. I’ll be using some of his ideas to coach teachers into conducting writer’s workshop with more fidelity. An ELA goal across my district.

See that book in the bag on the left–Instructional Coaching? That’s the title of my new job–Instructional Coach, and I’m reading it because I need to!  I am excited for the opportunity, and change always makes me eager to learn. I will be teaching two sections of English I on my home campus, and then I will be coaching English I teachers on my campus and the other three high schools in the district in the afternoons. I love that I get to keep working with students, and I love that I get to work with teachers. It’s a perfect marriage, and I think I’ll love it.

So much to read, so little time to read it. So occasionally I’ll claim to be a part of #bookaday, and I just signed up today for #summerthrowdown, although I won’t be too much help to Team Teacher. However, I will be reading. Every day I will be reading.

And I will read those YA books because I can read all the pedagogy books in the world, but if I can’t get my students to read…all the strategies in my toolbox won’t help a thing.

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Embrace Technology

CFBISD- Educational Foundation hosted a heartwarming recognition breakfast this morning. Fortunately, I was able to attend, leaving my 1st period English II class with a willing substitute. The EF honored me last spring with a $1,000 grant which I used to purchase five Ipod touches for use in my workshop classroom. I love that when students ask a question that I do not immediately know the answer to I can hand them a cool piece of technology and tell them to “look it up.” My students think I’m cool because most of their other teachers stick to the taboo of no electronic devices in the classroom. (It is in our Code of Conduct…but seriously, the Code needs updated.) I believe that we need to embrace technology, and allow the digital natives we teach to use their natural ability to navigate the world of knowledge so readily available to them. Our duty as teachers is to help our students learn to use the technology responsibly and like Mr. Coleman, principal at a local middle school who sat at my table this morning, stated: “Give students a task to do with the technology. The task is what makes the difference.” Besides, who wants to fight the “put it away” battle when the war isn’t really about the technology, it’s about the learning?

I thank God for organizations like the Educational Foundation–organizations that work so hard to enrich the learning experience of students and the working lives of teachers.

After the breakfast, I arrived at school rejuvenated, thanked my substitute, and felt an intense desire to smile a little more today. Thirty-four amazing teenagers greeted me, and as I smiled, they smiled back. Now, that’s a delightful morning.

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