Posture of Promise

“Let’s just enjoy these last few minutes together reading the next chapter,” I say. “Get comfortable.” Jay comes on camera so I can see him push his Chromebook back and lay his chin on his stacked fists. Dee is already on camera and takes to twirling on his swivel chair. So different, yet both are…

Skills: Interactive (Now Virtual) Writing

It was the day for my “I do” lesson in kindergarten as part of my commitment to get to know our EL Education Skills curriculum better. It was also the last day of school for who knew (who knows) how long. We had gotten the call the night before that today would be our last…

Skills: Make a Match

I am learning to love kindergarten. Today’s lesson started at the end of Connection Circle. We stayed in the round to kick off our lesson with the Make-a-Match fishing challenge. The students taught me, starting with Dee who threw his hand over his shoulder and back, simulating the moves of an expert fisherman. I added…

Skills: Word Rule

It’s less of a dance, More of a chess game: Teaching. Sometimes I am the knight, the queen, and, yes, sometimes the pawn. Take another of this week’s Skills lesson, this time in second grade. Similar to the first-grade lesson I had taught a mere 30 minutes prior, this one introduced a new phonics rule….

Skills: Chaining

/t/ -oss. Toss. /k/ -uff. Cuff. /b/ -all. Ball. /b/ -uzz. Buzz. /m/ -ass. Mass. Yes, I know – and some of you may have seen it coming – this morning, I led a group of six-year-olds in a routine that ended in “ass.” And that was just the warm-up! Good news: only one student…

dependent AND independence

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading” -B.F. Skinner A few months ago at a national literacy conference, I spent a good part of the hour before lunch engaged in my favorite kind of professional learning: a teacher-as-reader journey through a series of lessons, in this case, about birds and…

fear AND faith

It is just beginning to snow in Breckenridge.  I am close to an hour early.  I’ve seen the space where I’ll “go on” in just a mere matter of minutes.  For now I am taking a walk to clear my head, to pass the time.  It is just beginning to snow.  And the view from…

If I had it to do over

Nine months ago, I was also the presenter at a JCIRA Festival.  I was given free-reign on the topic, given the freedom to choose the angle, and was glad for the professional push it gave me to dive deeply into a topic that felt – at best – uncomfortable and – at worst – completely…

The Sweet Spot

Money buys freedom. A collective nod rises and falls across the room as Kristi Mraz talks to a group of teachers about the harsh reality we live in, not just as educators, but as human beings. She says the word money and my mind conjures images of the resource room back at school: Stacked floor to…

I Teach (Authentic Task #9)

What started out as a catchy title – No Assembly Required – became a series that set out to explore authentic literacy instruction in the most authentic way that I know how:  through reading and writing ourselves.  And though at times it felt like I was Going Solo, in my disenchantment for this vision, I knew,…