Wednesday, September 23, 2015

through another's eyes

Happy Wednesday! Today I had such a great day! One of my friends from Illinois Writing Project, Liz, visited me at Emerson. She is a first year Literacy Coach at a private school in Illinois and, much like I had wished my first year, wanted to come and see how Literacy Coaching looked from another coach's perspective. What better way to find out than to visit a friend in action?

She arrived before nine and we were able to talk a little bit about my schedule and organizational systems. Next, we visited classrooms for an hour and then attended a common plan that was on my agenda for today. After, we talked a little bit more before she had to go.

As we visited classrooms, some Reading Workshops, Some Writing, I was so struck about the amazing work we do at our school every day. Each day, students at Emerson sit in mini-lessons while their teachers demo strategies using beautiful mentor texts. Students listen carefully to read-alouds and, just like their teacher modeled, then they try a new reading strategy. Children engage in reading and writing activities for extended periods of time - independently - while their teachers give guided reading lessons and confer with peers. Students are asked in Writing Workshop, "Try and write your draft in a different way - try and bring out a new meaning or start it earlier or later in the sequence of events." And they do! All throughout workshop, teachers address students as Authors, Readers, and Writers. All of this takes place in classrooms where student thinking is apparent on the anchor charts around the room, where bountiful classroom libraries with books of many genres flow from shelves, and while sitting on beautiful rugs in the gathering area.

This doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen without a vision and commitment to, what I believe, is the best, richest curriculum we can give children. A curriculum where they are taught to be agents in their world, using their literacy as a means to make their places here on this Earth just a little bit better, whether that is via the lived-through experiences they have when reading books, or in their advocacy units in Writing Workshop.

Walking classrooms with a friend, hearing her gush over each new space and each new lesson we observed, is such a beautiful experience to look back on as I reflect on my day. Emerson teachers, not sure if you landed on this page, but believe me when I tell you it's my honor to work alongside you each day!

Liz, thank you for visiting our school! I look forward to seeing you in October and future collaboration we may continue to do!

Anyone want to see what we saw today? Head over to Twitter and look up our school's hashtag, #tigerslearn :-)


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