Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wise Words About The Head & The Heart of Our Work

I am currently rereading two edifying texts - Smart Answers to Tough Questions: What to say when you're asked about fluency, phonics, grammar, vocabulary, SSR, tests, support for ELLs, and More by the ever brave writer Elaine Garan and No Quick Fix: Rethinking Literacy Programs in America's Elementary School - The RTI Edition edited by a true literacy super hero, Richard Allington, and Sean Walmsely. When problem solving learning journeys and developing responsive learning for your students OR when faced with challenges from parents or colleagues about the why's of your teaching practices, turn to these texts. As I engage in "I believe...I do..."/"We believe...We do..." conversations/study groups with colleagues to articulate essential learning experiences for growing readers and writers (and develop curriculum support resources) and in preparing several upcoming parent workshops, the research references and portraits of "what works" in these texts are richly clarifying. Addtionally, Garan, Allington, and Walmsely's (along with the brilliant fellow writers of No Quick Fix) wise words can be a catalyst - or a compass - as you engage in necessary (but too often rare) professional development conversations with your colleagues about the intentions of your teaching rituals and routines. As Garan puts it, "What shines through every research-based recommendation and quote in this book, nestled between every single line, is that you are the head and you are the heart of the classroom (p. 157)."

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