Archive for February, 2010


This morning I read an interesting article in Educational Leadership.  The article titled, “I Got Grouped,”  was written by Chris Tovani, an author I have used many times in the past to help me understand struggling readers.  I began the article fully expecting to read about strategies to use with struggling readers.  However, this time Chris talked about herself  being grouped into a group of  “Technology Dinosaurs” as she put it at a beginning of school technology training.  The emotions she felt about being placed with a group of struggling technology users surprised her, and caused her to think about how we group students.  C hris had worked all summer on learning technology and came back to school eager to show what she could do.  Not knowing this, the workshop organizers had grouped the teachers using the last year’s information.  The article goes on to talk about keeping our groups flexible, making sure more than leveled group work goes on in our Reading Workshop, and the importance of having reasonable expectations and providing scaffolding with strategy instruction. 

This article validated why we do DRA assessments at the beginning of each year even though we assess the students at the end of  the previous year.  We want to make sure we are aware of where our kids are in their reading  journey.  But, as the article states,  it is also important to give our kids the opportunity to practice what they are learning independently and along side more capable students.  Are your groups flexible?  Do you allow groups to work together based on things other than reading level?

Chris Tovani really made me think–the feeling of success is so important.  What can we do to ensure our kids get that feeling?


The Robins are Back!

The robins are back!  This morning as I sat at my computer in my study, a robin serenaded me from the tree outside my window.  It made my Sunday morning reading even more enjoyable! 

As I was looking through my favorite sites, Choice Literacy, once again caught my attention.  Here is a link to an article about using Web 2.0 for collaboration.  Be looking for an email from me that invites you to try one of the collaboration tools talked about in the article.  Also, be thinking about how you can use these tools both as a teacher in the classroom and as a professional collaborating with other professionals.

I really feel we are teaching in a very exciting time–the possibilities of the things we can do is growing each day!  What are the implications for literacy instruction?  The teacher no longer has to be the only audience of what our kids are writing.  Other classrooms and other students can respond to their writing.  Other students can give book recommendations and write book reviews for our kids to read and share.  Our students can write their own books and share them with an audience that goes beyond our school, and our Smart Boards and projectors can now make anything into a big book!  As we integrate our technology with our literacy instruction, what does it look like for our students?  We truly can become a community of learners as we grow and learn beside them!

Using our Resources

This afternoon I lost track of time as I sifted through the dozens of sites in my “Favorite Resources” folder.  As I traveled to site after site, I realized that I needed to narrow down my resources to the ones I use over and over.  So many times I look for something new rather than go back to a site I’ve used before.  I call that my “The Grass is Always Greener at the new URL” syndrome.  It is good to search and use new sites, but sometimes the best use of our time is to use something we already know and to go deeper with it.  So. . . I selected a single site to investigate deeper and to think how I could use it with students.  What do you think?

What Makes a Great Teacher?

When I sat down this morning to update our blog, I had planned to talk about reading strategies.  However, my early morning journal reading changed my mind.  The article I am linking comes from the January-February The Atlantic and poses some very interesting insights.  It also causes you to stop and think about what goes on in the classroom.

Here is the link:  What are your thoughts?  I’ve set up a Wallwisher account for you to share your thinking.  Please take a minute to read and respond to this article; I think the article is a valuable read for all of us in today’s educational landscape of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

Here is the link to Wallwisher to share your thinking: