People who do not value you are worthless and those who do are priceless.
I recently went into a hearing clinic to pick up supplies for my mom. I was greeted cheerfully as soon as I stepped in the door by an attendant in the small reception area. We chatted for a moment, and then she left briefly to hunt down the batteries I’d requested that were located in the back storage area.
While she was gone, I had the chance to look around the waiting area. It was tiny, with just a couple of chairs. The only wall without windows was dominated by what appeared to be a huge framed poem, four feet high and five feet wide in size. I stepped closer to read it:
The patient is the most important person in our practice.
Patients depend on our expertise as we depend on their patronage.
The patient is not an interruption to our work.
The patient is our work’s purpose.
The patient does us a favor by coming in.
We are not doing patients a favor by serving them.
The patient is not a statistic.
Each is a human being with feelings and emotions like ourselves.
The patient comes to us with needs and wants.
It is our mission to fulfill these.
The patient is deserving of the most courteous and attentive care we can provide.
The patient is the lifeblood of this practice.
Without them, we would have to close our doors.
This pledge to patients was the only “art” in the room. Anyone who stopped for more than a minute in the clinic couldn’t help but see it. The receptionist looked up at it probably hundreds of times each day. She definitely lived the values. I felt like she was just waiting for me to come through that door, and absolutely delighted when I did. And you don’t get that feeling very often these days when you step into a new place and ask for service.
What would schools be like if there was something similar to this in reception areas about parents? If the first thing families read while waiting was that they were important, essential, the lifeblood of our work? Not an interruption, but the heart of our mission and purpose? We talk about values and vision a lot in schools, and even take the time to write them down. It may be that posting them as art, the central focus that people see when they enter our buildings, is what can help us all live them daily.
This week we look at the never-ending debates about the value of homework. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
If your students are already comfortable with an unstructured requirement of 20-30 minutes of reading each night, you may find adding 10 minutes of writing at home works wonders in fostering writing skills. Katherine Sokolowski explains how the assignment works in her classroom.
Melanie Quinn shares the process of coming up with a schoolwide homework policy that aligns beliefs and practices across grade levels.
Karl Taro Greenfeld does his middle school daughter’s homework for one week, and finds the experience pretty much ruins his life.
Can less homework bring better results? One teacher finds out for herself.
We’re launching two courses soon to help you get organized for the new school year. Gradual Release of the Classroom Library with Bitsy Parks will help classroom teachers design minilessons and strategies for introducing students to the classroom library over time. Getting Organized for Literacy Coaching with Ruth Ayres will help new and veteran coaches design thoughtful coaching programs. If you’re a Choice Literacy member, you’ll receive 20-40% discounts off the course fees.
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.
Dana Murphy looks at homework from the twin perspectives of mom and teacher, and finds she hates it from both views.
Heather Fisher helps a first-grade teacher create a homework challenge as a way to make the practice more meaningful and engaging for students and families.
The choice between whole-class novels or independent reading can be a false one in many middle school classrooms. Katie Doherty’s sixth graders discuss their reading together of a novel in verse, beginning with the homework question. Katie explains how some shared whole-class texts can support independent reading.
In an encore video, Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Spencer brainstorm topics for his writing notebook from home and personal interests. In the process, she shows how well she knows her students and their lives beyond the classroom.
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.
Jen Schwanke explains why the best way for teachers to improve written communication with families may be to use fewer words.
New PD2Go: If you think your colleagues might be intrigued by the idea of homework challenges, this professional development session can help you explore the concept. Franki Sibberson’s students share results from a weekly home science challenge in the video, and Heather Fisher initiates a first-grade homework challenge.Melanie Meehan explores research findings on homework, and provides a series of prompts for thinking through with teachers how to revise homework practices to be more relevant and helpful for students and families.
When it comes to homework, we’re often hamstrung by our own histories with it (and those of parents in the community). Joe Pinsker shares the research on homework and its limitations, as well as ways to do better. This would be an excellent article to read as a staff or in a study group.
The worst thing a kid can say about homework is that it is too hard. The worst thing a kid can say about a game is it’s too easy. Henry Jenkins
That’s all for this week!