Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Should I Read Next?

Now- I know I shouldn't complain but after a long weekend- we have another snow day. Don't get me wrong- teachers love snow days. I just like mine dispersed throughout the winter- not all at one time. I am missing my kids, panicking about the amount of work we have before student led conferences AND I am getting some major cabin fever. However, all these snow days are providing some time for great reading. I tell you about some of the books I have been reading later. Also, I have been catching up on some of my favorite blogs while finding some new interesting blogs. Which brings me to the purpose of this post. While playing on the internet this morning I found a helpful website for book lovers (disclaimer: I have only played it briefly): What Should I Read Next? If you have read a book you really love and aren't sure what to read next- this website provides suggestions!! Let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

That Workshop Book: Reflection 2

I would be willing to bet that if you asked most teachers what one of their biggest struggles with their jobs was, a vast majority would say- TIME!! There is never ENOUGH time for professional development, building meetings, teaching all subjects, conferences with students, allowing a study to end naturally, etc. We try to be so thoughtful about which aspects of our learning and our student's learning is most valuable and try to make sure those ideas take precedent (at least we shoot for a good balance). In return, I find that many ideas/beliefs fall through the cracks- not because they aren't important to my students and I- but rather- due to the fact- there is never ENOUGH time. After reading That Workshop Book- I realized that one of the ideas I have always believed in but seems to have lost its space in my classroom- was allowing my students (and myself) time to REFLECT. Samantha Bennett refers to this time as DEBRIEF. Lately, we have made sure to take the time to reflect on our learning and debrief, either as a whole class or individual/group conferences. The possibilities for the focus of this share/debrief time are "endless if you believe that student thinking matters most" (Bennett). The kids are beginning to rely on this time and, in turn, provides them with an additional PURPOSE for their learning. They know they will have the opportunity to check in and share their concerns and celebrations they have experienced with their learning. I have noticed an improvement in motivation and quality of work. I have also noticed, as the teacher, that I am more in-tune with their needs and strengths- it really helps to guide my instruction. As with my Reflection #1 post- another lesson in SLOWING DOWN and making time for what really counts!