Posted: January 23, 2017
This week’s message comes from Diane Loghry about our K5 ELA adoption. Thanks, Diane! Here’s to the HOPE & JOY we can find this week!
In Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, she talks about living a wholehearted life. She uses DIG deep as an acronym for being invested wholeheartedly:
Deliberate – in thoughts and behaviors through intentions
Inspired – to make new and different choices
Going – to take action.
This summer a group of teacher learning leaders from our elementary schools gathered round and wholeheartedly began the hard work of implementing a new ELA program. They are leaders and trailblazers, teachers on the front lines of reading and writing instruction with our new materials. All elementary teachers are diving into the curriculum, and the trailblazers are those with the interest and capacity to go “all in” this first year. They are coming back with messages of hope, excitement, and joy about the changes in learning opportunities for their students.
With the access to complex text available through the ReadyGEN curriculum, many students are surprising their peers and teachers with the depth of their thinking and the complexity of their responses to questions related to the text. In one anecdote, a fourth-grade student who reads well below grade level jumped into the discussion to respectfully disagree with a classmate and direct her peers to a different part of the text that provided evidence of her claim. The principal, who was in the room at the time, checked back later to see if the student was now reading on grade level. The answer was no, she still has quite a way to go. BUT the close reading routines and complex texts that are part of the instruction for ALL students provide access regardless of reading level so that students can demonstrate, practice and continue to develop their thinking skills. This student was participating with peers in a way she never had before. That is hope made real.
In their continued leadership, teacher learning leaders collaborate across grade levels and buildings and lead professional learning for their peers related to the six shifts represented by the ELA standard. This has allowed them to DIG deep into best practices. And in that deep DIG they are experiencing Hope and Joy in their students’ enthusiasm for the new books, activities, and challenges.
Again in December, teacher learning leaders gathered around – this time to celebrate how far they have come and continue to be inspired to keep going, making new and deliberate choices to support our students. This work will be ongoing and there will be more engaging challenges and ah-ha’s ahead. Stay tuned!