Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Changing Our View

Every day I'm reminded of how fortunate I am to be teaching and learning with the colleagues in my school.  In my new position supporting readers, I'm continually in and out of classrooms, taking time to talk with teachers, and seeing the work they do with students.  I'm continually humbled.  I'm also continually challenged to keep up and adequately support the work these educators do every day.

Recently I've been reminded of this again.  Imagine my joy when I received these emails from the classroom teachers of a few of the students I support showing me new steps of learning in their classrooms.  I'm used to sharing next steps with parents and teachers via Evernote, but I haven't really ever been on the receiving end of these joyous celebrations until recently.  These emails celebrated where students were as learners and honored the ways they were growing.

This sample of student writing shows how this student is growing her understanding of story.  It also demonstrates shifts in her oral language and confidence.  I was thrilled when her teacher, Deb Frazier, sent this to me!

Click HERE to listen to the conversation. 
This next example is one sent to me of a student we have been supporting to think of his message before getting started with tools to create.  He wasn't just expected to make the change, you can see in the picture the way his teacher has been supporting him before he got started with his work.

This is a picture of one of my students leading a book talk about Danny books she has been reading in her classroom.  Her teacher, Marie Nixon, made my day by sharing it with me.  She's quickly becoming a reading leader in her community.

When Pete the Cat and His Magic Glasses was published, I fell in love with its message.  Sometimes just changing our view makes everything better.  How lucky these students are to be in classrooms where teachers recognize and celebrate these new steps as they grow as literacy learners.

In my new position had a few questions I had started my year asking:

  • How do I support readers in a way that works for each child?  (In other words, children's needs before system, teacher, my own needs.)  
  • How do I advocate for children and celebrate the steps they make as learners with them, their teachers, and their families?  
  • How do I help these readers connect to their reading communities?
  • How do I connect the work we do to their independent reading and daily learning in their classrooms?  
  • How do I support teachers without giving them one more thing to do?

It's easy in teaching to fall into a "what needs fixed" mentality.  Our systems are often set up to make us look as deficits instead of strengths.  We have to work hard to keep our thinking and conversations focused on what children can do.  I'm grateful to these classroom teachers for their persistence in finding the little steps to celebrate and supporting these young learners in their journey.


  1. I use Evernote, Cathy, but cannot figure out how to get the audio in that first piece. I so agree that looking, finding, & celebrating the steps forward is so much better than looking for the negative. Good for you for supporting that!

  2. You are always helping me grow my thinking!