Only getting the A and Z without the B through Y, leaves you SOL.
Have you have had a boss who liked to say, “I’m a big-picture person — a vision guy. I’m not detail-oriented”?
Let me guess.
That boss was kind of a jerk, right? (Or a “glass bowl,” if you want to be more colorful but avoid swearing.)
Here’s the thing. There’s no real vision without the tedium of working through the details. You can have a wonderful idea, but it’s only when you dig in to implement the plan that you discover there’s no bridge between steps M and N, or even steps B and C.
The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail. And sometimes the difference between something good and a disaster is attention to detail. I remember when a colleague, many years ago in her first year of teaching, planned a big field trip to the local zoo for her fifth graders to finish up a conservation unit. She’d had the trip approved by administration, arranged for parent chaperones, and talked to the zookeepers about exhibits and a special guided tour. The morning of the field trip, everyone was lined up outside the school, kids and parents, waiting for the buses. After 30 minutes of everyone twitching, it finally dawned on the teacher that she’d forgotten to order buses. It was a mad scramble, but she managed to salvage the field trip, and learned a valuable lesson about details.
True visionaries know that big impossible things are accomplished one small task at a time. Folks who pride themselves on leaving others to sweat the small stuff will probably never understand that. So if you’re one of those folks who likes to say, “I’m a vision gal — I come up with the big ideas. I’m not detail-oriented,” please stop. What you’re saying isn’t what other people are hearing, and they might be getting a little tired of cleaning up all the messes that bubble up from the details you’ve missed.
This week we look at look at classroom routines with fresh eyes now that the school year is well under way. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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Ann Marie Corgill provides some guiding questions to help teachers figure out priorities in their schedules for daily routines:
Teachers who struggle to find time to collaborate with specialists will appreciate Shari Frost’s advice in No Time for Collaboration:
No matter what routines you have in place, there will never be enough time for what needs to be done. This essay from the Curmudgucation blog captures the teacher’s dilemma perfectly:
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Shari Frost encourages teachers to reconsider “the morning story” routine, a rote copying activity still prevalent in many primary classrooms. Shari offers some fun and practical alternatives:
Stella Villalba finds mid-workshop conversations are a terrific routine to add to literacy workshops to promote growth, especially for English language learners:
Gigi McAllister reorganizes her classroom library checkout system, and finds that a little upfront investment in time pays big dividends all year long:
In this week’s video, Karen Terlecky confers with fifth-grade Connor about his writing, demonstrating the routine of celebrating strengths first, and then making suggestions of new techniques to try:
In an encore video, Danielle French leads a morning meeting in kindergarten, and then talks about the routine with Gail Boushey and Joan Moser:
That’s all for this week!