Saturday Sayings

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 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 keepin' it real!

Now pop on over to Tammy's place 'cause she always has the BEST Saturday reflections:)

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  1. You just can't top authenticity in my book. Lets face it when we look at the best learning the kids achieve it comes from an authentic teaching plan. I love your idea of developing the Monday message throughout the week. I have always had a new one each day so I'm going to give it a go on Monday. Valuable input as always...thank you Barb!!

    Julie :-)
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Julie.
      The once-a-week message was a great idea by Fabulous in First! I think it's brilliant.

  2. Love that message idea. I might need to steal it. Authenticity is my constant mantra. Thanks for the reminder.


  3. This post has me doing some authentic thinking. The breaking things down into small bits and mutilating it is something I strive constantly to be aware of and change in my instruction. My best readers are the ones who have been read to since birth and nurtured with books through their formative years...Not the poor student who has been plied with worksheets on letter sounds and sight words. Teaching is not an easy job! Thanks for making the journey more meaningful!

    1. Oh, I agree, Jennifer! Reading to your kids from birth is SO important!

  4. Great ideas for your morning message! I like your thoughts on going from whole, to parts and back to whole again.
    Conversations in Literacy

    1. Whole-part-whole teaching works really well. I've been trying to teach that way since the beginning of time ~ haha!

  5. Barb, thank you for joining me this morning. Regie would absolutely love your goal of authenticity. It's one of my goals too, although I have my moments every so often when I think, "And what does that look exactly?" The way you've described it with your morning message is a great example of what it looks like. Love it!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. You're welcome, Tammy! Thanks for having me:)
      I know what you mean. I often have to stop and rethink it, too.

  6. I'm reminded of the Skin Horse and the Velveteen Rabbit discussing his thousand-dollar question: What is real? And I think you've nailed it ... what a tangible way to encapsulate all that authenticity is. If we gave out the REAL seal in the blogging world, this post for get it, for REAL!


    1. Thanks, Barbara!
      Awesome text-to-text connection:)

  7. Perfect example, Barb! I know I'm guilty of sometimes focusing on the "parts" too soon which stifles some of the creativity that could take place (if you know what I mean). I'm thinking writing here... Thanks for a great reminder!

    Teaching Little Miracles

    1. I'm guilty of it, too, at times. As long as we keep trying, we're all good :))

  8. I love the idea of heart/mind connections. I always want to reach their hearts first to make room for their thoughts. Sometimes, their hearts are confussed, which makes me very sad.

    The First Grade Princess

  9. I think that is a great goal. It will really show the kids how they can apply what they are learning as well.


  10. I love the idea of composing on Monday and revisiting during the week. Brilliant.


  11. I'm finally getting a chance to go back and catch up on the blogs I missed during the last few crazy (wonderful) weeks. I am so inspired by your goal of authenticity. I will be thinking about how I can make sure my teaching is authentic.
    Mrs. Goff's Pre-K Tales

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