I’m joining up with Tammy, from Forever in First, with her Saturday Sayings.
Earlier in the week a colleague who knows me well asked me what my focus was for the upcoming school year. I didn’t have a clear idea at that point because so many ideas were swirling through my mind.
But I’m now halfway through Regie’s book, Literacy and Learning Lessons from a Longtime Teacher, and I have a clearer idea of next year’s personal goal: AUTHENTICITY.
I’ve always tried very hard to keep my teaching grounded, real, purposeful and authentic but I know there’s always lots of room for improvement.
I’ve been mulling over the meaning of “authentic teaching” for a few days now. The way I see it, it’s strongly tied to the heart/mind connection and teaching from a whole-part-whole stance.
If the kids are engaged in their learning because I’ve encouraged them to follow their own passions and interests (through structured choice) then I’m ensuring the heart/mind connection is alive and well. That’s authentic teaching.
If I begin with the “whole” (the big picture) before moving to the parts and then always bringing it back to the whole again, that’s authentic teaching.
It’s very hard to learn something new when it’s been broken down and mutilated into small bits that have lost all meaning, especially small bits that are of no interest to the child.
I’m not sure if I’m making myself very clear, but here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
For morning messages I’m not going to be the one composing them each day. I’m going to create a message with the kids through shared writing (even some sharing of the pen). The message will tie in to the curriculum, but it will be the kids’ words and ideas.
We’ll write the message on Monday, then the rest of the week will be devoted to repeated readings, editing to improve the language, and looking at smaller bits (i.e., beginning sounds, sight words, blends etc.). At the end of the week the kids will take a cleaned up copy of the message to read at home (this will be in a duotang containing the weekly poems as well).
To my mind, this is authentic reading and writing. We start with the “whole” (writing a message in the kids’ language), move to the “parts” (sounds, sight words, punctuation etc.), then back to the “whole” (repeated readings and taking the student-authored message home each week).
Here’s to keeping it real!
Now pop on over to Tammy’s place ’cause she always has the BEST Saturday reflections:)