All too often professional development becomes a gripe and eat session leaving us teachers feeling discouraged. Today I experienced a different kind of PD-even though I still ate way too much. My school has been having ARI (Alabama Reading Initiative) training for all grade levels and this week it was finally 4th grade's turn. We focused on the things we could control and did let ourselves become disheartened by the things we could not. In this session, we learned how to use Anne Goudvis and Stephanie Harvey's Comprehension Toolkit to supplement our county mandated reading program. I had used a few lessons from the toolkit before, but today I was able to see these lessons broken down, reflect on their main purpose, and discuss the steps with a partner. I am really looking to forward to teaching a lesson to my class tomorrow about their inner voice.
One thing that was brought up several times today was letting go of some of the teacher control. As teachers, we desperately want our kids to succeed. There is nothing wrong with that at all! The problem comes in when we let this desire enable their learning. It is so easy to simply tell them the answers but then are they really learning? We must put the responsibility of their learning back on them. I am not saying that we need to give them the text and walk away- we must model using strategies and provide authentic ways for them to practice. Our trainer told us today that learning is social and I completely agree! I learn the most when planning with my fab co-workers. I want to encourage you to release some control and get your kids out of their desks and get hands on with text and learn! Enough of me on a soapbox- just pumped about all the new ideas I am getting. More tips tomorrow!
PS- There is a second edition of Strategies That Work out that has 20 new lessons along with old favorites!