Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crossroads


"Image "Crossroads" - (C) by www.martin-liebermann.de"
I'll be brief.  But, I wanted to jot a few notes that I had from today's seminar with Lucy Calkins and Mary Ehrenworth in Danbury, CT after yesterday's post about Pathways to the Common Core:  Accelerating Achievement.  The day was filled with a wonderful mix of refreshing review of what I know, believe, and value; new insights and learning; and inspiration to innovate and reform literacy instruction.  Today was a breath of fresh air amidst the hustle and bustle of the start of a new school year, and it was just what I needed to propel me forward again.  Lucy reminded us of the important crossroads at which we stand and to slow down and take stock of what we are doing and how we are doing it.   She challenged us to view the CCSS as a mission, not a mandate, to push what we already do well to great heights.  I walked away with $100 worth of professional texts  and many new insights.  In the essence of being brief, here are a few (repeat: few) of many:

  • "The most important role is the role of the teacher." ~Lucy Calkins 
  • High level thinking and achievement accelerates in classrooms/schools that:  (1) nurture relationships between children and teachers, and (2) coach students (and teachers) with strong, specific feedback.  (Based on John Hattie's work)  
  • The CCSS puts a higher emphasis on higher level, critical thinking.
  • Among other personal touches, schools that are making progress:  
    • provide students time to read and write huge volumes of text 
    • review and analyze assessments (student work) in collaborative teams to move kids through an established continuum 
    • track reader and writer's progress through text 
  • Students should be reading "just right texts" at least 2 hours every day
  • It takes deliberate practice and good instruction to move students through learning progressions of sophisticated thought processes.  
  • We must continue to inspire teachers and professionalize teaching through think-tank discussions, peer (teacher to teacher) led groups, book clubs and writing groups. 
I could go on and on.  I'll stop there.  I agree that we are at an important crossroads with many paths possible.  I sleep at night hoping that we, teachers and educators, are leading our profession down the right path to do what we know is right and true and based on our values and beliefs.   I rest assured that the future holds exciting rewards for the groundwork that is being laid.  And, I hope that we can all come together to embrace change to create critical thinkers and lifelong learners.  Thanks, as always, to the TCRWP for the work that they do to inspire the work that we do.     

Oh, one more thing.  Lucy also highly recommended the book, Professional Capital by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan, which isn't part of the $100 purchase today, but I'll be sure to pick up this week.  Shh, don't tell my husband.  Oh, come on. That was brief for me. ;)

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