Nerds of a Feather

One week to go before school begins! Today I spent a wonderful afternoon discussing Reading Workshop with colleagues. Some of us are trying it for the first time. Others shared their experiences and resources. This was not official professional development but every bit as valuable — maybe more so, since it came from a common interest and a genuine desire to improve our teaching in ways that feel right to us. Choice and authenticity… sound familiar, Reading Workshop teachers?

Being nerds, the conversation often turned to other important matters, including The Dresden Files, Doctor Who, Outlander, Homestuck, manga, anime, writing, cosplay, RPGs, and Nerdfighteria. I am so fortunate to have found kindred spirits whose enthusiasm for life and for teaching reaffirm that I am in the right place. DFTBA!

Our Reading Workshop Is Approaching the Launch Pad

Thanks to some wonderful resources (The CAFE Book, Notebook Connections, and Reading in the Wild), and ultimately inspired by Donalyn Miller‘s life-altering The Book Whisperer and some amazing colleagues, I have outlined a plan for this year’s Readers Workshop. Key components:
1. Reading Notebooks, where students will record books and genres read, books for future reading, goals, strategies, reading notes, interesting words, and drafts of blog posts.
2. A Pensieve (teacher’s notebook – name borrowed from The CAFE Book and Albus Dumbledore) for recording assessments, student conferences, and strategy group work.
3. A rough idea of what our workshop will look like, with time for read aloud, whole class mini-lessons, individual conferences, strategy groups, and lots of independent reading, note taking, research, and writing and talking about books. I’ll introduce these gradually so students are clear about their options during Reading Workshop. Continue reading

Wait, summer’s almost over and I don’t have it all figured out!

I’m more nervous than excited about the start of the 2014-2015 school year. My mind isn’t quite ready to be in charge of this thing. I haven’t made lists, I haven’t planned, and I don’t have a clear vision for where I want to go.

The hardest thing about setting goals for a new year is to narrow them down. I want to be amazing at All The Things! Some of my plans work out. Others are abandoned halfway through, what with me being human and finite and all. When the owl arrives with my Time-Turner, things will be better. I just know it!

Until that happens, however, I need to be realistic. I need to set one major goal to focus on this year. (Not that owls and Time-Turners aren’t realistic. I’m sure she’s on her way.)

There are several new things happening this year, some of which are my choice:  Continue reading