On Friday, I was in Connecticut for their Connecticut Reading Association Annual Convention. What a great day it was! (I will share some highlights in another post.) Aside from learning a ton in some great sessions, I spent quite a bit of money before 9 am! Before I went book shopping, I was able to buy some great new jewelry from a company called Purple Umbrella. Great stuff by a variety of artists from around the world. If you are in the mood for a new necklace, check it out:-)
After the jewelry shopping, I hit the booksellers. It is a great time to buy new professional books. So many new great ones out this month! I picked up several. The one that I read on the plane ride home and that I would HIGHLY recommend is TEACHING ESSENTIALS: EXPECTING THE MOST AND GETTING THE BEST FROM EVERY LEARNER, K-8 by Regie Routman. It is a quick read with so much for us to think about. The back of the book says:
"What makes a teacher outstanding? More than anything, it's a way of being with kids in the classroom that lets them know they're smart and capable of high achievement. When you combine this mind-set with effective instruction, teaching and learning is transformed."
Regie takes the opportunity in this new book to help us think about some of our most struggling students and the stance that we take with them-how much things can change when we truly believe they are smart and treat them accordingly. She shares stories from many of the schools in her work where some students labeled with a special education label were changed when instruction was delivered in a way that valued their intelligence. That good classroom instruction is good for ALL students, especially those who are not always successful in schools.
In her introduction, Regie writes:
"My hope is you will use TEACHING ESSENTIALS as a catalyst for your thinking: that reading this text may affirm what you are doing as well as create a little dissonance that causes you to reflect on your teaching. This book is an invitation to think and talk more deeply about how to improve and sustain effective, daily literacy practices across all subject areas and throughout the school year so that all students and teachers reach the highest possible levels of learning, achievement, independence and enjoyment.
As always, Regie Routman brings us back to what is essential in our work with our students--what makes sense for all students and why every student deserves this. She makes a strong argument for inviting every child into the learning community --and shares what happens when we really, truly believe that every child is smart and capable.
There is also a great companion website that adds to the book with videoclips, study guide and more.