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Showing posts from August, 2017

Rethinking Accelerated Reader

I                                         never thought the day would come when I would rethink my use of a  popular reading program in which students read a book from their independent reading range, take a computerized quiz and collect points to try to reach an independent reading goal. After much thought, reflection and chats with educators across the country, the day has come.

Don't get me wrong. I've used the program and I feel I've had wonderful results with it. After all, it gave me exactly what I always said I needed from it. It gave me a gauge as to whether my students were real reading or fake reading. It also, in my opinion, helped reluctant readers to become engaged readers. Wait...well, those sound like reasons to keep using the program. Definitely, they are. However...

Many former students whom I have kept contact grew up and didn't learn to love to read. They read to please the teacher. They read because they wanted the good grades. They read because the…


Winston Churchill once said, "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

Last year, I made a change from fourth grade teacher to the role of reading specialist. Every single day was a change in shifting from teaching/facilitating to coaching/facilitating. I made many fumbles and stumbles along the way. I reflected. Nothing killed me, so I got up, day after day, and confronted my new role head on. I was not the same educator at the end of the year that I was in the previous August. I changed...pedagogically, personally, and professionally. As I look back, I improved. I didn't become perfect, but I reflected and tried in earnest to learn from my mistakes. I changed.

Over the summer break, I researched, planned, wrote, prepared supplies, and presented two workshops. I read professional books about how students learn to read and how reading instruction "should" look in the 21st century classroom. I've spent hours reading fellow educators' b…

Random Thoughts about Students and Teaching

Monday, August 7, I begin my 21st year as a school system employee (19th as a certified educator) and just like in all the years past, I am extremely excited. Education, while taken for granted by many, is a treasured gift. Empowering citizens with literacy is a life changer. Education is a poverty breaker. It's hope given to the hopeless. It's a way out for the trapped. It's sort of a big deal!

Here are some of my random thoughts about teaching:

1. We should always, always make decisions that are best for our students. Always! Identify what is best for students and make it happen...selflessly.

2. If a student doesn't have a pencil, give him one. If he loses it, give him another one. (Stock up on pencils to the nth degree!)

3. Refer to students and groups of students by name. Don't call them the blue group or the green group or the Bluebirds or Level K group or .... Just use their names! (Levels and groupings are for the teacher's knowledge.)

4. Don't make …