It takes effort to say no when our heart and brains and guts and, most important, pride are yearning to say yes. Practice.
One of my favorite leadership gurus is Adam Grant, the author of Originals. If you read the newsletter regularly, you’ll notice he’s often quoted here. Adam’s advice is the perfect blend of creative and practical when it comes to helping others and making sure you’re doing work you love. Adam recently shared a strategy for avoiding taking on too much work:
Feeling overwhelmed is usually the result of being overcommitted. It’s a curse of productivity: the more you get done, the more requests land on your plate. To break the cycle, try a simple rule: don’t add a new project until you’ve finished an existing one.
I was thinking about what this might look and sound like for a busy teacher or literacy coach. Picture yourself being asked this week to help with a late September virtual professional development series, something you absolutely have no time or energy for right now. Normally you might say, “I’d love to help, but I’m overcommitted.” If you were following Adam’s advice, it would be better to say, “I’d love to, but I’m giving all my extra energy right now to helping the third-grade team navigate the new remote learning software.” And then, “Once that work is done in mid-October, I’ll consider new projects. But this one needs my full attention now.”
Putting those words in the air reminds you of your priorities. But it also shows your colleague how seriously you take your commitments. And it reassures them that when you do take on a project with them, you will give it your all.
Specificity is great not just for writers, but for leaders.
This week we look at ways to foster more thoughtful reading response. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills are discouraged by the random and idiosyncratic responses to reading they are seeing among first graders. They implement a series of lessons to help students move to evidence-based reading responses.
Are your conversations during read aloud stilted or shallow? Tammy Mulligan recommends weekly “grand conversations” to spark more thoughtful talk. She provides the tools you need to get started in your classroom.
Laura Milligan explains how to set up online book clubs to build community and response in remote learning environments.
It’s tough these days for preservice teachers to get into classrooms to observe teachers and students in literacy workshops for required field experiences. Most schools will not allow visitors or interns during the pandemic, and many districts have moved to fully online instruction. Choice Literacy to the rescue! We are now offering a virtual field experience through the over 900 classroom videos from grades K-8 on the site, featuring top teachers from around the country. We’ve developed this $49 option as an alternative to a traditional fieldwork experience, and it includes a three-month Classic Classroom membership. You can read more about it and register here.
In our online course Better Student Feedback, Ruth Ayres shares a wealth of resources from Choice Literacy contributors focused on the power of giving and receiving student feedback. These courses are free to our paid annual subscribers, and the low fee of $39 for non-subscribers includes a two-month membership to the site. Click here for details.
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.
Gretchen Schroeder realizes her experiences from decades ago as a student are clouding her perspective on “flipped” literature discussions. Once she gets over her biases, she finds that online discussion of literature is a powerful equalizer for student voices.
Melissa Quimby creates the “Meet Someone New Monday” read aloud routine to inspire students with picture book biographies of little-known artists, activists, and citizens who accomplish remarkable feats.
In this week’s video, Gigi McAllister leads a group of fourth graders discussing characters and their quests or goals in their texts.
In an encore video, Katrina Edwards helps her first graders early in the year transition to more thoughtful reading partnerships through a minilesson at the start of the morning workshop.
Stephanie Affinito creates a simple template to help teachers move book talks online in remote learning settings.
New PD2Go: This video and workshop guide includes guidance from Tammy Mulligan and Franki Sibberson on how to enhance and deepen student responses to read alouds in the intermediate grades.
Literacy leaders can suddenly find themselves teaching and coaching remotely as schools are locked down for deep cleaning or other unforeseen circumstances. Cathy Mere shares her top ten picture books to stash at home for virtual instruction.
I believe we all have a lot to say, but finding ways to say it is more than half the battle.
That’s all for this week!