In our district, we have what is called the COACH program. In the COACH program, a tenured teacher works with another tenured teacher to have professional conversations about instructional practices and work together to improve instruction. I am lucky enough to be the COACH of one of my dear friends, Theresa. Theresa is a dynamo fourth grade teacher, who's creativity astounds me everyday. However, she has become my COACH when it comes to blogging! I have to give her the credit of designing my page, as well as convincing me to blog as much as possible. Theresa twisted my arm to share my latest endeavor in school- so here goes!
Over the past few months- and even last year- I have been reading every professional book imaginable about the CCSS, reading strategies, writing strategies, and school leadership. The three books that have come my reading bibles are Notice and Note, Falling in Love with Close Reading, and Talk about Understanding.
These books have transformed my teaching! Because I am reading specialist, I do not have my own classroom. I get to share classrooms with amazing teachers in my school, but because I am pulled in so many directions I find that I cannot consistently be their rooms to co-teach, and support students.
While at PF Changs with my husband, during lunch break at NCTE, I said to Dave, "Man, I wish I had my own classroom. I am dying to try all the strategies I am learning with students in a consistent period of time." Dave's response, " So do it. Take over a classroom. Who is going to tell you no?" And so Strategies in Action was born! I presented the idea to my principal. My plan- to take over a classroom for 1 hour a day for two weeks were I could implement a reading workshop model, and incorporate specific reading strategies. But I didn't stop there- I wanted the teachers to see this. I wanted to work through these strategies and this model with my colleagues. My principal and I are going to devise a schedule where teachers from all content areas will be able to come into the classroom and watch me work with the students. But even more important, we would discuss what we saw in PLC later on that day. It is that conversation about the strategies and reading workshop model that will really have an impact on everyone! Modeling is one thing- but breaking down the structure of lessons, the purpose of lessons, and examining student work is what moves our teaching!
So not only did my principal ask me to present this to my staff, but she also informed our Superintendent of what I would be doing. He wants to come watch as well! But wait it gets better- she wants to film my classroom too! YIKES! I haven't been filmed since the awful days of BEST Portfolio, here in CT. To this day, I cannot watch the videos of me teaching my second year of teaching. My stomach turns over at the thought of watching myself!
When I presented this to the staff at the staff meeting, I presented it as, " I am not perfect. I am taking a risk and putting myself out there!" This is hard for me to do, as I am a perfectionist, and have such a hard time when things don't go as planned! But I want the staff at my school to know that we are all in this CCSS madness together. We have to work things out together, and always keep in mind the best interest of our students. It's the students that come first!
I would not be doing this without the inspiration from reading idols met at NCTE, #nerdlution, my co-workers at school, and a lunch a PF Changs! I start my "Strategies in Action" in January and cannot wait to start. My hope is to keep track of all the happenings on my blog- and just maybe I can help other teachers that are muddling through the CCSS too. Just as the saying goes.. " It takes a village to raise a child," I think the same goes for teaching, " It takes a village to build life long learners and readers." Hats off to taking risks! Thank you #nerdlution!