Ending with the Beginning in Mind #sol19
June 11, 2019
There’s so much at the end of the school year that it’s tempting to metaphorically throw things in the closet after the students leave and say All set! Late spring can be a time when we are our most reflective. The year’s experiences are fresh in our minds. We see the capacity of learning at its peak. If we can get past the tired, this is the greatest time to plan for the next year.
We have targeted shared reading as a goal in our learning community for next year, strengthening book choice, strategically planning for learning needs, and assisting teachers in considering shared reading (and interactive reading) texts. Having that in mind, we made a plan for some of us to meet together to plan out at least the first unit of first grade’s framework for shared reading as school opens in the fall.
Coming from my perspective, I was considering the framework, each day of the week’s focus and learning objectives. I was thinking of a template, of thinking stems, of routines that would ensure shared reading become a expected routine in each class. I was ready to talk about these structures. I had the phonics units. I had Understanding Texts and Readers, I had the Guide to the Reading Workshop. I had the first units of study in reading. I had talked over the structure with a fellow literacy coach and thought I was prepared but flexible to teacher needs.
Yesterday afternoon, I met with the teacher. She immediately started talking about what books would fit together and what level they would be. Well versed in the units, she began logical with the suggested book in the unit. Knowing the author, she began suggesting other titles. As I shifted my thinking, I caught up to her and we spent the next couple of hours, creating a stack of possible book choices making it through to our upcoming February’s unit. Now we have a stack and the next time we meet we will dive into the routine, the additional poems, and other plans to round out this thinking.
As I consider this work time, I am excited about the potential for success. The teacher clearly took the lead, with me listening to ideas and offering up suggestions. With history of collaboration, we spoke quickly and generated ideas and abandoned some ideas with equal speed. All of this made me think about how to spark initiatives in others. Here’s what I’ll try
Be open to inquiry. From creating mentor text lists, to toolkits, to ideas from articles, to needs that teachers feel that they or their students have based on the day to day work.
Be open to shifting. I have a head full of ideas based on what I’ve read, tried, and seen. All the professionals I work with have their own schema. The synergy of those can be really strong.
Be open to messiness. The truth is growth is full stops and starts, of missteps and progress, of surprises and triumphs.
So I learned a lot yesterday. Here’s to continuing to grow.