We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
A friend I see once or twice a month always says the same words to greet me: “So what’s new and good?” She asks the question with gusto and a smile, and it energizes our conversation right from the start. It’s one of the things I like most about her.
Greetings are one of the most ingrained habits we have, and for almost all of us, meeting someone provokes a perfunctory Hello or How are you? If you want to change the dynamic, try “What’s new and good?” on for size. When teaching is a bit of a slog through winter and testing, “What’s new and good?” reminds students that there is always something to be excited and thankful about – we just need to pause and remember. Launching a professional development session with “What’s new and good?” is an opening for colleagues to take stock of all the smart moves their students are making, and to acknowledge the small and big kindnesses in any day.
So what’s new and good with you? I bet just pondering this question for a moment lifts your mood. It always does for me.
This week we look at ways to foster more independence in learners of all ages. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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Katie DiCesare works with Evan, a first grader who shows little willingness to read on his own. She shares her strategies for promoting independence and enthusiasm for reading:
Children who are hesitant about diving into independent work may just need different structures and assistance. Gigi McAllister realizes she is a slow thinker, and this makes her reconsider some of her classroom practices to support children who need more time to respond:
Exploratory Notebooks are a terrific way to foster more independence in writers. Tara Smith at Two Writing Teachers explains how they work:
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Katrina Edwards confers with Camilla, a struggling reader. She is a child who has no confidence in herself. The Compliment Conference is a way to acknowledge and build upon Camilla’s strengths, and boost her self-esteem at the same time:
How do you scaffold students for independent work? Melanie Meehan finds Wonder and React is a great strategy to use with fifth graders during an information writing unit:
Cathy Mere shares what to look for and what to try next with young learners who are easily distracted and struggling to concentrate during independent reading:
In this week’s video, author Jennifer Richard Jacobs chats with a group of fifth graders about how to generate ideas for writing independently each day:
In an encore video, Beth Lawson uses an LCD, whiteboard, and magnetic clips in a clever way during the transition from minilessons to independent writing in writing workshop. Students tag whether they will be working on drafts or conferring with peers as Beth completes her status of the class on the board.
That’s all for this week!