We won’t make ourselves more creative and productive by copying other people’s habits, even the habits of geniuses; we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best.
When I got married, my mom gave me a piece of advice that I have never forgotten: Act the way you want to feel. She explained, if you want to feel loving toward your husband, act loving toward him. As I was happily preparing for my wedding, I couldn’t imagine a time that I would ever not feel loving toward my husband, but I stored the advice away. I soon discovered that as much as I love my husband, I don’t always feel that way 24 hours a day. The small irritations–a task left undone, a toilet seat left up–as well as the big annoyances–a disagreement over a bathroom remodeling project–can sometimes put a damper on my affection. Whenever I find myself hanging on to those negative feelings, I always return to my mom’s advice: Act the way you want to feel. And it really does work; your behavior changes your attitude. It’s really hard to feel annoyed with my husband when I’m giving him a warm hug.
I was recently reading Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin when I came across this sentence: “It’s easy to assume that we act because of the way we feel, but to a great degree, we feel because of the way we act.” Here was my mom’s old advice in a different context. I had always applied it to my marriage, but it got me thinking about how it could apply to my habits at work.
At the beginning of the school year, I had made a goal to make a regular habit of conferring with my high school students about their reading. I scheduled conference days into my plan book as a way to ensure that I made the time to talk with my students and it worked great! I felt so empowered by this new habit–conferring was making me more connected to my students and more in tune with their reading successes and struggles.
Then other things started getting in the way–projects that needed more time, unexpected schedule changes, and snow days. By midterm, I had fallen off the wagon with conferring. It had happened gradually, but finally one of my students asked, “When are you going to have time to talk to us about our books again?”
I knew something had to be done. I was feeling defeated and, worst of all, disconnected from my students. That’s when I applied my mom’s advice. If I want to feel more connected to students, I need to act connected to students–it’s nearly impossible to feel disconnected from a student when I am talking with him one-on-one. This small, simple shift in perspective gave me the push I needed to make time for conferring once again. What I’ve come to realize is that “act the way you want to feel” is a way of preventing negative feelings from robbing you of the positive experiences in life, whatever the context may be.
This week we look at notetaking in writing conferences. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
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Mandy Robek shares how she has revised the records she keeps during writing conferences:
With more than 75% of students receiving extra support in a high-need district, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan struggled to find tools to help teachers collaborate around student needs. Enter the personal conferring notebook, a terrific vehicle for teachers to record insights about students working with multiple teachers and specialists:
Ruth Ayres asks, Is Writing Essential? Her answer might surprise you:
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Tara Barnett and Kate Mills develop a scaffold with an index card to help student partners move from agreeable talk to suggestions for revising writing:
In this week’s video, Melanie Meehan uses a conferring card in her writing conference with Cara to ensure she has a record of strengths and revision possibilities that were discussed:
Mary Lee Hahn considers how the success of any day has to integrate observations from conferring, lessons, and share sessions in What’s a Great Workshop Day?:
In an encore video, Ruth Shagoury looks for a way into a conversation with six-year-old Emily by using her drawings, previous writing, and interests. Emily’s first language is Hmong, and she is experimenting with Chinese characters in her writing:
That’s all for this week!