No More Sink or Swim AND Making a Difference.

Join us in Sioux Center, Iowa, June 27-28, and 29-30

Join us in Sioux Center, Iowa, June 27-28 and 29-30

I’m offering two courses this summer for either license renewal or graduate credit. The first is called “Purposeful Teaching of Comprehension Strategies: No More Sink or Swim” and the second is called “Making a Difference: Examining What Great Teachers Know and Do“.  I always look forward to meeting new teachers through summer classes and I appreciate how others can offer points of views and ask questions that really sharpen my own understandings. If you are in Northwest Iowa in late June, join us! I’d love to have you sign up and be a part of our conversations. I am certainly blessed and humble to ba a part of them!

Poetry

We were writing poems last week in class. For this introduction to poems this year I tried to stress three main aspects of poetry: poems look like poems, poems are usually about things for which you feel strongly, and there are very few rules with poetry.  What do you think? Are those three the most important aspects, or would you stress other aspects of poetry?

Also, here’s my personal contribution to the poems that were written in class last week.

Bored
by Mrs. T.G.

Bored?

You are bored?

How can you say you are bored?

Seriously.

          Seriously.

You mean you have NOTHING to do?

  Seriously.

Are you so DULL that you can’t even thing of ONE thing to do?

Not ONE thing?

       Not one book to read?

            Not one sentence to write?

                 Not one science experiment to try?

                      Not one puzzle to make or solve?

                           Not one story to imagine?

Well, then,

You should not say you are bored,

You should say you are boring.

Slow Summer Reading

MTG reading2I love summer! One of my favorite activities is watching my kids play ball, but second to that is reading. Not only actual reading, but also LISTENING to audio books while I get caught up on some much needed spring summer cleaning annual shoveling out of the house. With a month of summer done, you’d think I’d have a pile of books read and/or listened to, but here’s the thing, I’m a slow reader.

Yep. Fully admitting it. This teacher of reading is a slow reader. Problem is my mind wanders and I spend time developing these elaborate visualizations of the text, perfecting my images, flipping through my mental rolodex finding JUST the right Hollywood actor for each character. Trading Matthew McConaughey, Richard Gere, and Brad Pitt like they were baseball players until I find just the right face for that leading male character. Then I have to go back and reread (or scroll back on my iPod) because I realize I just missed something important as I was off mentally recreating that scene. 

But what I lack in quantity, I make up for in quality, as cliche as that may sound.  I get into books. I care about those characters, I analyze plots and themes, I wonder about what the author was going through while writing the story.  A good book makes me laugh, cry, rub my hands together in excitement, or totally nod in agreement/shake my head in disagreement.  A good book is fulfilling. A good book is thought provoking.  A good book is, well, life changing.  So, while my summer reading list is LONG, I won’t make that big of dent in it, and I’m okay with that.

Happy reading!

Now, where’d I put my book?

Revisiting: Aliterate Teachers

Here’s a post from my Classroom 2.0 Blog from 2008. It caused a lot of comments. Would love to hear your thoughts on either side of the aisle.

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MTG reading2Okay. So I’m sitting at a “Literacy Institute” and I’m surprised by a comment from a teacher who says she doesn’t like to read.

Doesn’t like to read? An elementary teacher, in charge of teaching kids to READ, doesn’t like to READ herself? What’s up with THAT? That’s like a boat salesman who doesn’t like water! Or a astronaut who doesn’t like space travel, or a doctor who doesn’t like patients, or a baker who doesn’t like bread… (Feel free to add your own analogy in the comment box!)

How can you teach kids how to read if you don’t like to read yourself? Sadly, this is NOT the first time I’ve heard something like this. (Thankfully, the work of Karen Kingsbury has been nothing short of life-changing to many of my former non-reading colleagues and friends. I even had one teacher somewhat upset with me because she had such a hard time putting those books down after being introduced to them that she was losing sleep!)

So, here’s my plea to school administrators around the world: Please ask EVERY interviewee if she considers herself to be a reader and what books she’s read lately. Then ask her if she considers herself to be a writer and what types of things she’s written lately. Seriously, ASK!

What do you think? Can someone whose main job is to teach literacy do so without being actively literate themselves? Can someone whose main job is to teach mathematics (or any other given subject/content area) do so without being actively literate?