I have another blog, penstrokesbycathy, that I would love for you to visit. I started that blog with the thoughts of using it as a place to display my art, tell stories of growing up, and talk about teaching. It became a really dedicated art site. That's okay. That is my passion. But I wanted a place to talk about the classroom, share some ideas, and converse with people interested in education. The audience was different. So, for some time, I have been playing with the idea for another blog. Since it is summer, it seemed the perfect time to give it a go. There was a book study coming up and I wanted a place to share some thoughts on this awesome book, The Book Whisperer, and I am beginning a new direction to my career next year, so it really was perfect!
Despite all I said earlier about new beginnings, I am really not into change. Small newness - yes. Big - extremely big - newness scares me. So when my principal called me in the day before school was out to tell me I was changing positions - yep, that's big. Except for my 4 wonderful art years (which I will talk about in the future), I have been a classroom teacher. One group. Not so for next year. There is going to be a reading lab/classroom for developing readers in grades 2-5 and guess who is going to do this?! I left his office in shock. In typical "Cathy-fashion", I cried some. I struggled with this idea. I did not want to leave the classroom. I wanted to leave it. My system went on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Then of course, there was the move from my room of about 12 years to another (very nice) room at the other end of the building. Do you know how much
The move is behind me. I won't bore you with how many trips I made to the other end of the world with a heavy rolling cart or how I wasn't sure I would ever get out of bed again. Summer has started. The rollercoaster is parked at the top of the hill, for now. I am sure it will dip down every now and again, but then how much fun would a rollercoaster ride be if it only ran on top of the hill?
I have been reading and researching all I can find about ways to make this work. I love reading. I love books and since childhood have never been too far from something to read. My house looks like a much less organized Barnes and Noble. My goal every year I have taught has been to make children fall in love with reading and books. Yes, of course, I want the skills to develop. But as I like to say, I know the rules and skills on how to play baseball. I am not good at it because I don't see the value in being a good ball player for me. I am not interested.
I follow lots of great teacher blogs. One that you need to look into is wereadweblogweteach. I am participating in a book study on this blog. The book is The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. This is an awesome read. We were supposed to have read chapter one by today. I bought the book last Friday and have finished it. I could not put it down. If I could write, I could've written the book for her. She mirrors my thinking that closely. On page 15 of this book, she goes over the key components for a reading workshop. They are time, choice, response, community, and structure. we need to provide students adequate time to read. Not to do worksheets. Not to play games. Read. There is nothing wrong with either of those things, but time to actually get involved with a book is paramount. They need to have choice in their reading material. Choice is important to keeping their interest. Skills need to be taught, but imbedded in real world reading. If you work with teaching reading, I strongly urge to you to read this book. I plan on reading and commenting here as I read through this book.
I have been overly wordy! Sorry. I hope you will plan on visiting again (maybe even becoming a follower). I promise every post won't be so long!