Educators are granted the incredible gift of revision, a chance to reflect on and refine instruction year after year. Try again. Do over. Make better. At its core, education is a creative process, facilitated by a teacher and constructed by the student community. It’s a meeting of the minds.
In the fall we aim for instruction that will introduce the fundamental concepts we’ll nurture across the year. I’m dedicated to creating a classroom where student ideas and voices are the foundation of our daily discussions.
All teachers ground their instruction in fundamental beliefs that they have about learning. These beliefs implicitly guide both the plans and moment-by-moment decisions that are required of all teachers. It’s important to take your own time to reflect on the things that are most important to you.
If you are interested in working on the talk in your room, the first step is to listen. All listening involves some level of bravery (it’s never easy to listen to yourself) and routine. It’s the only way to really know what is being shared and how the moves you make as a teacher are affecting student thought in your classroom. You need to find a way to save conversations and collect artifacts of your talk for assessment and reflection.
Kara Pranikoff is the literacy coach teachers and students all dream of. She’s a listener, an observer, and a thinker. It wasn’t long upon first meeting Kara that we were quickly drawn into discussions about pedagogy and practice. She asked insightful questions about our classrooms, and although we discussed curriculum and challenges, our students remained at the center of our conversation. A few minutes with Kara and you know you are speaking with a literacy expert. So it’s no surprise to us that she wrote a book about cultivating talk in the classroom.