Saturday, March 31, 2012

OLW March Reflections

"March came in like a lion and out like a lamb." I found myself wondering about this phrase several times during the month.  I googled it and found this from the Naturalist's Almanac: No one seems to know much about the origins of this particular proverb. It’s just one of the many old sayings that come from our oral past. Before anyone could write, it was transmitted from generation to generation by repetition. All that’s known for sure is that its first appearance in English literature was in 1624, by which time it was familiar enough to English audiences to appear as a bit of banter in a popular play.

The reason I thought of this quote is because I have been struggling for the past few months with changing literacy instruction in my classroom.  I have felt like a lion and a lamb at some point since Christmas. On the lion side, I had to change my reading instruction model to focus more on guided reading (GR) groups. In 5th grade, I have used many strategies of GR but not truly ran GR groups in the past. But now I was told I had to run these groups.  I have learned and worked really hard to make GR work within my classroom but the lion of it is that I have lost other parts of my reading instruction primarily my read aloud and sense of whole class community in February and March.  This really saddened me and as I was reflecting on the month of March, so I committed to coming back to our read aloud and what I believe is the key to success in a strong reading program.

The lamb in me is committing to bring back our whole class community read aloud during our literacy block. Yesterday, I explained to our class that we are going to read How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor for the enjoyment of an amazing story. I told my class that we're not doing any worksheets, vocabulary work or comprehension checks. You could have heard a pin drop and on the other hand you should have heard them cheering in MT.  My goal is to rebuild our community and most importantly have discussions about life choices.  Isn't education about learning and preparing for the future and not just passing three state tests in May? My March came in like a lion but our April will be like a lamb.

Check out these other bloggers participating in OLW:
Barbara: at Wondering Through 2012
Tracy at Thinking Stems


  1. I used How to Steal a Dog as a book club book. Our discussions were so amazing that almost every child chose it as an independent read if they were not in that club. Great book! Lester Lamanick says that read aloud at the end of the day is the most builds community, leaves them wondering, it is the first thing that they might remember when they get home, and it will lure them back the next day! Enjoy the book.

  2. I always love visiting your blog. You have so many of the same thoughts I have, but you are brave enough to share them with the world. I just wonder in my own little corner. Thanks for reminding me to reflect on what works and how to build on that. Now I need to start wondering aloud and see where it leads me.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. I agree with Lester's comment. I have to be honest this blog was written in my mind 100 times this month. I try to stay upbeat however I realize that sometimes I need to put it out there and allow others to read and or comment. Continue to wonder-I find that it leads to some of my best teaching.

  4. Maria,
    I love your connections to the "lion and lamb". I think as educators we all are feeling like you. We are all being told what we need to be doing and it doesn't always fit with our personal/professional opinion. Keep up the wonderful things you are doing!

  5. Thank you Barbara for your comment. I know from the wide range of conversations that I have with colleagues that we are all feeling this pull. I believe it is important to not lose that personal and professional opinion that you mention in your comment.

  6. Sometimes you just have to shut your door and do what you know is right.