The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
By Friday afternoon at the end of the day most of the school had already emptied for the weekend. Lucy, a teacher, stopped into my room. She said, “Thank you for my card today. I used to get notes all the time from the principal every time she walked through my room. I put the note in the top of my desk along with all the others I have received over the years. Every spring when I clean out my desk I look through all my notes over the year and remember.” Lucy is the most veteran teacher in our district, with close to 40 years of service. With that I smiled at her and opened my top drawer revealing my own pile of notes that I too have saved over the last 16 years in this position as a literacy coach.
In this age of endless accountability, curriculum work, and testing, I sometimes get the sense that many of us are walking zombies — going through the motions of compliance (I am referring to teachers and students alike). Yes, we may have more developed assessment systems, mapped curricula, and detailed intervention systems than ever before, but I find many of us are losing our spark. We are all so busy getting through our to-do lists that we often walk through the halls each day passing with a hurried hello before moving on to our next task.
Seth Godin wrote, “I see you is what we crave.” As I think back to last Friday, I realize that my note was a way of seeing Lucy. There are many things that I have no control over in terms of the demands of our schools but I can always work to see people and take the time to show appreciation.
This week we consider the concept of just-right texts. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Jennifer Allen is a literacy specialist in grades 3-5 for the Waterville, Maine, school district, where she works as a reading coach and leads professional development programs for teachers in a wide range of formats. She is the author of Becoming a Literacy Leader and A Sense of Belonging (both available through Stenhouse Publishers), as well as three video series.
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Melissa Styger develops A Just-Right Lesson for Just-Right Books using recordings of students reading a variety of texts:
Do You Know How I Know My Son Read His Book? from Matt Renwick at his Reading by Example blog is a terrific post about looking for real-life learning reading passion in children:
There is a wonderful new series at the Stenhouse blog on outdoor observation, perfect for breaking out of the spring doldrums with students. Here are some tips from Herb Broda:
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Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris share advice for Redefining Just-Right Books:
Gigi McAllister uses Picture Books to Foster Resilience with her fourth graders:
Celebrating “The Voice” of Writers from Melanie Meehan is a fun activity for late in the school year that uses the format of “The Voice” television series:
That’s all for this week!