As I plan for the next quarter, I am reminded of what is essential to this classroom. To the very experience, we are trying to create for all of the kids that we get to teach every day. We want them to come to school feeling safe. Feeling accepted. Feeling challenged but in the right way. We want them to feel like what we do matters and we want them to feel needed. Like their presence here matters and that to us they are more than just a child we get to teach.
As the ideas come for what we can do with all of the time we are given, I am reminded of what is most important to us; reading time. Eyes on text. Books loved. Conversations had. Not worksheets created, papers written, or even how many books they read. But the very experience they can have with text and how it can change them as they grow as readers. Not all of the little things that otherwise seem to suck up our time.
That is my essential and so with this in mind, I plan our lessons.
Discovering or re-discovering your essential is important throughout the year. It is easy to get lost in the task of doing school. As the year passes, we often get consumed in the day-to-day of doing, of teaching, that we forget about the bigger picture; the one hope we had for all of the kids this year. And so instead, we let all of these little things whittle away at our instructional time, not finding time for the one thing we hoped we would do the most, whatever it may be.
Therefore, now is a great time to remind yourself of what your essential is for the year. The one thing that you had planned would take up time, but now may have been forgotten.
To help you re-discover or discover your essential, you can ask yourself:
- When you set up your classroom, how did you envision your classroom would be?
- What type of learning experiences did you want students to have?
- What is the one thing you want to ensure students experience on a regular basis?
- What is the one area of practice that will make the biggest difference to all of your students?
- What are you spending the most time on right now?
- What do you need to stop doing to give your students more time for something else?
- What do you need to start doing more of?
And finally; are you doing what you said you would this summer?
As I look at my students reading, I am reaffirmed that the gift of time to read is the biggest gift I can give all of them. That simply having the time read is the pillar of everything else I hope they will accomplish this year. That if they read, we can work on protecting the like or love f reading, but if they don’t we can’t. Everything else comes after and so with that in mind, I plan our experiences together.
What is your essential and are you teaching with it in mind?
If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017. This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block. If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.