Last Thursday night we arrived in Lima, Peru! This will be home for the foreseeable future.
We have been enjoying the company of family and friends; we have been searching out places to live; we have been learning from and working with some amazing people; we have been looking for and creating work, ways to share what we know while continuing to grow in knowledge.
There are amazing possibilities in this city of 10 million! If you are looking for a literacy/ language teacher and coach please let me know; I would love to talk to you about the possibilities.
When working with my students in language and literacy I am always looking for data. I don’t, however, rely much on standardized scores and summative assessments. While helpful in a very small way, those types of assessments give me information more about me, the teacher, than about the student. I look for data that I can use.
Every time I have a conversation with students I make notes about their learning, sometimes mental notes and sometimes written notes. I try to keep track of their use of language and their thinking. Every time I read student writing I make notes about their use of language, their ability to express themselves and their accuracy. This is the data that I use.
This is the real-time data that shows me what students know and can do right now. That data is then turned into large group, small group and individual instruction as needed to move all students forward. I encourage students to make mistakes, use big words, enter into debates and not be afraid. It is through making mistakes, I tell them, that I can know what the next steps are in their learning. All done in a supportive environment.
Give it a try; it’s not rocket science. When we pay attention to the students they will show us what they need. When we listen and watch, we will know what to teach.
Here is a list of the strategies we are learning with the NUA cohort this year. The work has been wonderful and I always love learning! I am pretty sure that any one of them can be “googled” if you are looking for more information.
Just to name a few! :)
I have been gathering websites for early literacy learning in Spanish; here they are… so far. clearly I need to annotate the list and add more.
If you have any other suggestions please let me know; I am sure there are many, many more.
A colleague in my K- 5 school asked for a few ideas about making writer’s workshop fun and engaging. I love those questions because it allows me to be creative and gather ideas. Here are a few ideas to get started… (If you have more please add them!)
Last Friday I read a story with a first grade student during his independent reading time. Actually, he read to me a story of the Tooth Fairy. His ancestors of a few generations back came from Mexico (that will matter towards the end of this commentary).
Here is our conversation after he finished reading the story:
Student: I know that the Tooth Fairy is not real.
Me: No? (I know that this student has older siblings and I wondered what they had told him.)
Student: No. It’s not real.
Me: What more can you tell me?
Student: No, it’s not a fairy. It’s a ratoncito. This is true! In parts of Latin America it is not a fairy that leaves coins for a tooth it is a Ratoncito Pérez.
Writing for year’s end
On paper thinking, today reflecting
Aimless thoughts a wander.
Judging not the honesty of this day,
Tomorrow’s truth might morph.
But today I write
and today I know