Week One and Done

I think the worst part about Special Methods is we had to wait this long to take it. So far, all the discussions, assignments and readings have been things I look forward to and I am pretty sure that trend will continue.

My biggest take away this week was during Tuesday’s class when Dr. Ellington asked us, “What do real people do when they finish a book?” If we want our students to become real-life readers, we need to lead them to real-life reading habits. Like we commented in class, no one draws a mind map or makes a diorama! Our ‘Visions and Values’ list needs to be filled with discussion and writing through all stages of reading. Think about the last time you read a good book. Like a really good book, a pounding-coffee-the-next-day book. Did you keep it to yourself? No. You found anyone willing to listen and told them all about it. We need to use our passions to inspire students.



My other high point of the week also came from class when we talked about how to handle required readings. Now I’m not sure how “required” some texts are to teach, but we learned how to pull out the basics and use sources other than the books to intense our readers. My only questions left in this area cannot really be answered until I know what administration I’ll be teaching under.

“Are the required books required by tradition or a set of standards from the district, state, ect?”

“What will the faculty/parent reaction be if I chose not to teach the required?”


One of our journal prompts was to write about a quote from our assigned readings and, oh boy, I had many highlighted and underlined statements to pick from. I enjoyed how these readings exposed us to more than the cliché sides of teaching; the internal struggles to find time for personal reading and writing, the fear of imperfection and the strength it takes to be human and vulnerable in front of a class. I also learned students will learn more from the writing process than they will from any perfect final copy.



Outside of class, I started reading Jim Burke’s Letters to a New Teacher, with Joy Krajicek. The book is a collection of letters from Burke to Krajicek her first year of teaching. In the forward, they explain Krajicek came to Burke asking for help and he asked her to record her in-depth questions on index cards. His responses came back pages long and in the end, created the book. I am only on the first letter right now so I’ll keep you guys updated, but I am really enjoying it so far. I borrowed the copy from Dr. Ellington’s collections so I can pass it on when I finish if anyone is interested!


All images courtesy of Creative Commons.



2 thoughts on “Week One and Done

  1. Elisabeth Ellington says:

    Asking that one question, “Is this something readers and writers do in the wild?”, about our classroom literacy practices can help us filter out so much busy work and so much waste from the curriculum so that we can make time for what matters and what has been shown to grow readers and writers. I still sometimes get lured by fun projects and elaborate lesson plans designed by someone else–it’s inevitable! But at least I know how to bring it back to the foundation of reading, writing, talking as real readers and writers do.


  2. Ali Meyer says:

    Is this the book that you’ve been talking about recently? It sounds really interesting! I would also have to agree with Dr. Ellington. As future teachers of course we want flashy lessons and amazing projects for follow-up, but that isn’t what we do “in the wild.” Like you said we share our books with others and have conversations about it. We talk about the characters and the plot, and we explain what truly made that book so amazing and how it changed our lives. As Dr. E said in class, kids aren’t going to remember those lesson plans or projects, but they are going to be established readers and writers – and I think that is more important.


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