The constraint, whatever it is, supports action.
Diana Glyer has spent much of her professional life studying the “Inklings”—the group of writers that included J.R.R. Tolkien and others. Her theory is that Tolkien wrote over 90% of The Lord of the Rings on Wednesday nights. Why Wednesday? He had a standing meeting with C.S. Lewis and the rest of the Inklings on Thursdays. When you have friends you regularly share your work with, you don’t want to disappoint them. The meetings become deadlines.
There is magic in giving yourself a deadline or constraint for creative work that includes a regular meeting with a supportive peer or peers. Creativity needs guardrails—not just deadlines, but the specifics of what you will produce when. Goals. Timelines. Checkpoints. And it’s peers who care about those constraints that can make you value them too.
If you’ve got a creative project that fuels your soul, I hope you also have a standing appointment with a friend who supports your work. Most of us need regular dinners or getaways with friends to unload our cares and renew our passion for work. If your art matters to you, those friends are even more essential for the gentle prodding they will give you to keep creating.
This week we look at partner work. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
Jennifer Allen examines her desire to be a part of nearly every initiative in the district, and makes some decisions about when it makes sense to step back.
Brenda Power shares important questions for teachers entering into a co-teaching situation to consider in advance.
Here are some suggestions for stronger partner work in elementary classrooms.
Start your year right with online courses from Ruth Ayres on literacy coaching, Cathy Mere on assessment beyond levels, and Dana Murphy on designing coaching cycles. Details are available at this link. Choice Literacy members receive discounts of 20 to 40% off the course fee. Nonmembers receive a three-month trial membership as part of the course fee. Winter is a great time to refine and develop new skills.
New members-only content is added each week to the Choice Literacy website. If you’re not yet a member, click here to explore membership options.
Partner work is an essential component of many literacy workshops. Dana Murphy explains how she is intentional in building thoughtful routines and expectations for partner work in her fifth-grade classroom.
Mark Levine realizes that explaining expectations for an essay assignment over and over again isn’t working. But when he has students write in pairs for a portion of his workshop, magic happens.
In this week’s video, Sean Moore leads his second graders in a quick pair-share to help everyone reflect on what they learned during independent reading.
In an encore video, fifth-grade writers in Franki Sibberson’s classroom encourage each other and suggest revisions to their opinion writing drafts in partner teams.
Lead Literacy now has a new home as the Leaders Lounge at Choice Literacy. We’ll be posting the new content updates here in the Leaders Lounge section of the Big Fresh newsletter.
“Do you miss the classroom?” Cathy Mere has answered this question often. It makes her think about the differences between coaching and teaching, and how it takes time to develop a coaching heart.
In this quick video, literacy coach Jen Court explains how she collaborates with principals.
Literacy coach Betsy Hubbard shines a light on three key elements for making writing partnerships a success.
Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise.
Mary Kay Ash
That’s all for this week!