Those who wish to sing, always find a song.
This spring I’ve spent a lot of time with a loved one who is recovering from a stroke. If you’ve spent much time with anyone who is frail and elderly, you know the ups and downs of recuperation.
One day he slept for almost 20 hours straight, and I felt discouraged, especially since the previous two days had been marked by more sustained movement and conversation. He can’t string three good days together, I thought. And then I stopped myself, made a slight revision to that thought, and said it aloud this time:
“He can’t string three good days together . . . yet.”
That one word yet helped me think about the progress he was making with his physical therapist, and the goals that had been set for the following week.
Yet at the end of any sentence transforms it. Many years ago a running joke was that every fortune cookie saying was improved if you added “in bed” to the end of it. I have found this spring that any discouraging observation about progress can end with a glimmer of hope simply by adding the word “yet.”
As students transition to the next grade or school, teachers will chat about the progress each child has made. There are lots of students and needs, and it’s impossible not to make sweeping statements or generalizations. I wonder how the conversations would change if more of those statements ended with yet.
Alana can’t read fluently . . . yet.
The statement naturally invites more conversation about what Alana can do and how that is putting her on the path, however bumpy and uneven, to more reading skills. Max doesn’t work well with others is a finite statement. Max doesn’t work well with others yet is a point in a journey that Max, his teacher now, and his teacher next year are on together.
With some children, challenges can far outnumber strengths. Those kids need our yets more than anyone else.
This week we look at ways to be more inclusive in classrooms, plus more as always. Enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
Stella Villalba shares some of her favorite children’s books that mirror the home cultures of English language learners who might be new to American classrooms.
Shari Frost deals with the failure of a classic read-aloud text to reach young African American boys by finding more engaging books for them.
In The Limits of Levels online course, Cathy Mere demonstrates a range of strategies for understanding and meeting the needs of young learners. The course runs June 18-30. Choice Literacy members receive discounts of 20-40% on the course fee.
The Lead Learners Consortium is offering a 20% discount to Choice Literacy subscribers to their Summer Institute on June 20 and 21 in Warsaw, Indiana. Use the promo code CHOICE to claim the discount. For more information, visit their ticketing site.
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.
Every teacher wants to be more inclusive. But where do you begin? Melanie Meehan presents three practical starting points.
When it comes to including and understanding others, it may be hardest to empathize with those who disrupt or bully others. Tammy Mulligan shares her four favorite mentor texts for understanding students who are angry and lash out.
We continue our video series of Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders explaining their strategies for annotating the class read-aloud. In this installment, Stone uses Google Slides to record thoughts and tease out themes.
In an encore video, Stella Villalba scaffolds the language development of her first- and second-grade English language learners during read-aloud by highlighting vocabulary and providing a tool to assist with a partner retelling activity.
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.
The last thing leaders want to do when they are rushing to get everything done at the end of the school year is plan for summer retreats. But Jen Schwanke explains why that’s exactly what needs to happen if the sessions are going to be thoughtfully done and inclusive. Jen shares what works well in summer retreats for teachers, and what she avoids at all costs.
In this short video, Cathy Mere asks literacy coach Kelly Hoenie to think about how she will use learning from the end of the school year to plan for next year.
This article from Teaching Tolerance by Emily Chiariello includes many practical suggestions for how to coach with an equity lens.
Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.
That’s all for this week!