Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.
I was driving down the highway several months ago, when my steering wheel started to shake in my hands. Perplexed and a bit worried, I slowed down and the shaking stopped. As I accelerated again up to 60 miles per hour, the shaking started again. It did not feel like the car was unsafe, just a bit less stable than usual and not very pleasant to drive. I decided to continue on slowly to my destination, much to the irritation of some other drivers.
I told my husband about my experience and we took the car to the garage. After the mechanic examined it, he shared that although my car would pass inspection, I might want to get a set of new tires and possibly an alignment soon. We decided to put it off for the time being since I rarely drive above 50 mph in my daily rural commute and the car seemed to feel fine as long as I kept the speed down. Then a couple of months later there was a big storm, and I noticed that my car did not handle very well, so we took it in to get the work done.
The first time I drove my car after the new tires and alignment, I immediately noticed the subtle changes. The ride was smoother, the handling more responsive, and the sound quieter. I kicked myself for having waited so long.
This experience got me thinking about procrastination and change. Is it natural to put things off until absolutely necessary and to resist change? In the classroom do we continue with what we have always done because it “feels fine” and things seem to be going “okay”? It is hard to keep up. How do we decide what to keep, what to change, and what to get rid of altogether? Are your tires worn down? What have you been wanting to try in your classroom? What is stopping you? Summer might be the perfect time for a realignment.
This week we look at creative possibilities for nonfiction in classrooms, especially for teaching research skills. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Gigi McAllister has been a teacher for 20 years in Gorham, Maine. She currently teaches fourth grade, and has also taught special education. Gigi blogs at The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog.
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Franki Sibberson shares advice on adding nonfiction series books to your classroom library:
Tony Keefer taps into the Instagram craze among his students, and finds it is an ingenious tool for encouraging summer reading while kids are on vacation:
Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share their favorite picture books for teaching nonfiction text structures:
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Melanie Meehan explains how helping students deepen their questioning strategies leads to more thoughtful research projects:
In this week’s video, Katherine Sokolowski meets with a group of fifth graders who are all researching the use of nets in fishing and the environmental effects of the process. She works to build connections among classmates as well as research skills:
Jennifer Schwanke remembers the days when mimeographed nonfiction pieces were rare and not welcome additions to elementary classrooms, and reflects on how much has changed in New and Improved Nonfiction:
Justin Stygles uses a daily nonfiction article activity as a way to build interest in nonfiction short texts, especially among reluctant readers in his classroom:
In an encore video, Sean Moore leads his second graders in a whole-class discussion of nonfiction writing, including a partner share:
That’s all for this week!