I am going to begin my first blog post with a confession: I almost chose to go practice games on the Xbox instead of sitting down to write. I admit that my ego gets somewhat shattered every time my six and nine-year-old and I sit down to play. However, I have been putting this off for awhile, too. And I know that if I want to know more about writing, teaching writing, and loving writing, I have to practice writing.
I have been starting a blog since April, when I fell in love with Twitter (@robindubiel) and following the likes of @PrincipalJ and @shiraleibowitz, amongst others. I remain surprised at the amount of blog reading that I have done over the past three months. So, fascinated with the process of on-line writing, I wanted to give it a shot. BUT (and this transition word deserves upper-case letters, in my estimation), May happened.
My mother-in-law entered the hospital for the last time, fighting her third round of cancer; my husband started long hours of seeding and hospital visits; my boys both played ball four nights a week; and I entered survival mode, teaching full-time, coordinating schedules and hospital visits and meals. My days were so full, and I had tons to write about (still do), yet May slipped away. And then, June happened.
We attended not one but three family funerals; seeding turned into spraying; ball games turned into play offs and wind up parties; and I wrote reports and transitioned from my role as Learning Achievement Coach at my ‘been here for seven great years’ school to Tier One Instructional Coach for our school division. Our June calendar, the one that we write on and keep in the junk drawer for safe keeping, was a mash of colours and marker and pen and pencil scribblings.
Yet, here we are. Past June. And I feel more ready than ever to begin this writing and reflecting journey.
So much so, that I even read an entire book in two days! Forgive the evident shock there, but I neglected my books this spring and am so pleased to have finished one. (Goal: to one day a be a #bookaday contributor.) A middle-years teacher friend of mine recommended Playground by 50 Cent (2011), a book that would not necessarily be my first pick. I really enjoyed it. It is a thoughtful look at a topic that is often belaboured in our schools (bullying) from the perspective of a ‘former bully’. I ended up feeling compassion for this young man and his family, connecting to the troubles and successes of most of the characters.
I am currently reading What Really Matters in Response to Intervention: Research-Based Designs by Richard Allington (2009). I am looking forward to using much of the valuable information in this book as reference and catalyst in the work that I will be a part of this fall.
Struggling readers need a full day of powerful and appropriate instructional activities. Before designing your intervention effort, evaluate how many struggling readers will be struggling all day long because they have texts in their hands they cannot read. (42)
May. June. Ball practice. Seeding. Good books. Best practice. It’s all about what really matters. I’m so glad I’m here.