Sunday, 12 December 2010

Brilliance in the Classroom: An Amazing Day After So Much Hard Work

So, I have been working my tail off for this group I have. About seven to ten of them need my expertise desperately. It has been a true test this year to see if my instruction is truly making a difference. Last Tuesday, I attended the workshop at my local intermediate school district. I can't believe I spent $179 dollars of my own money to attend the monthly Lucy Calkins Reading Workshop. I was hoping to stay grounded in my foundational beliefs as my own pressures within my school district continue to confound me. That is just what happened. I was able to remember from a teacher's perspective what is important to continue losing sleep over and those things that are not.

The time I spent with my students this week was priceless. We were able to have such great deep conversations about reading and writing. I felt like I had one really special day filled with many affirming small moments with students and teaching friends.

One of my students was able to make huge cognitive leaps in reading and math. It brought tears to my eyes hearing her say, "Mr. Parker, guess what I noticed? Adding 3 + 6 can help you add 30 + 60. This child needs to use math blocks to count by tens. By the end of the day. She had been able to move away from using the blocks and transfer her new knowledge without using the tens and the ones blocks.

The same student actually stopped in the middle of her reading to say, "oh, I get it! I know why the story has two birthday cakes now. Her baby brother was born on her birthday. So each of them gets a birthday cake!" It was an amazing moment to watch her stop on her own and reflect about her reading after predicting and working through the story.

Sharing learning with other teachers is one of my favorite parts of being a teacher. At the reading workshop I attended one handout from the facilitator really made an impression on me. So I photocopied it to share with some other teachers in the future. That same day as the brain breakthrough with my student, a staff member actually asked me for information I had on the handout. It was so random, that he would ask if I had seen or made something given to me just a day before our conversation. The piece of paper was literally sitting on the corner of my table ready to hand to him. Could the timing have been more perfect?

Now, I will use this wonderful day to fill up my tank for a while. I'll take these blessings with me into my last week before break. I hope to uncover more small moments like these this next week.

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