The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.
Sarah Ban Breathnach
This week I’m breaking a cardinal rule in publishing newsletters – never write about politics, religion . . . or college football. But I’m a proud graduate of Michigan State, in a family where Sparty has reigned for generations. Mark Dantonio took over as the football coach nearly a decade ago, and since then fall through the football season has been a delight for Michigan State grads – win or lose, the team is always fun to watch.
I watched an interview recently with Dantonio, and he talked about how hard he works to get each team member to focus on long- and short-term goals. In the week before any game, every player writes down five goals for the upcoming week. They can be big and lofty, like play with more heart, or quite specific, like don’t allow #23 to rush for more than 30 yards.
I was struck by what Dantonio must learn about each player when they have the chance to write their own goals. Perhaps one of the most basic things we’ve lost with the rise of the standards movement in education is perspective. When we put someone else’s standard or target on the board, does it really mean anything to kids? Do they even understand half the terms or a tiny percentage of the context in which the goal was created? What would happen if kids started each day with writing a goal or two for the day, defined just that broadly? We’d probably see some quirky, surprising, and even discouraging goals. But we’d also learn a lot about how kids perceive school and their place in it.
What if we started professional development sessions with goal-setting? What might teachers reveal to school leaders through their goals before we gave them our agendas?
The older I get, the younger those college football players look to me. Each big win or heartbreaking loss can seem monumental. But when their playing days are far in the past, it’s likely the wisdom of a good coach that will endure more than any numbers on a scoreboard.
This week we look at how to create smarter anchor charts. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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Christopher Carlson describes why and how he made reader response anchor charts more rigorous and thoughtful in his fifth-grade classroom:
Shari Frost writes about how to create intentional anchor charts. This classic article is one of the all-time most popular features on our site:
Jennifer Serravallo explains why getting to know students as readers needs to be the top priority for teachers early in the year:
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In Charts as Tools, Charts as Teachers, Tara Barnett and Kate Mills give three principles they use to help avoid the “charts as wallpaper” syndrome in their fourth-grade classroom:
Katie DiCesare shares examples from her first-grade classroom of Collaborative Charting with students:
In this week’s video, Melanie Meehan chats with second-grade teacher Nadia Egan about her ingenious use of table charts to enhance conferences and whole-class instruction:
Katherine Sokolowski finds that electronic charting of learning with Padlet has almost endless possibilities for use in her fifth-grade classroom:
In this encore video, Katie DiCesare’s first graders add to a blends chart during reading transition time:
That’s all for this week!