Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday Word Work: Tale of Two Conversations

A few conversations this past week started me thinking about the role of a teacher as a learner. The first conversation was with a teacher who was struggling with word study.  She felt like her lessons were not flowing, and the lessons were more like a check off list.  As we talked,  I suggested several activities and she made al list of "possibilities."  I saw her get overwhelmed as we continued talking.  I realized I was talking way too fast for her.  Together we looked at the list of "possibilities" and helped her to choose a few from the list. These are the ones she chose to tackle for the next week.
  • collecting words (from the read aloud or picture books) new skill
  • word observations (she had already taught this skill earlier in the year) review skill
  • playing with words (sharing magnetic letters, dry erase boards) helping with spelling
The second conversation was with a friend who is an amazing math teacher discussing the importance of "talk" in the workshop.  She shared a video of her class during math workshop and as I listened to the talk of the students I noticed that the teacher was in background.  I was on overload with so many ideas running through my mind.  I couldn't comprehend more than one idea.  I asked her for one strategy to help me with talk in my workshop because I felt overwhelmed.  Her suggestion was about how to help students have a conversation without raising their hands every time.  If a student wanted to change the topic of the conversation, they he/she would raise their hand which signaled a shift in thinking otherwise the students would talk math. Brilliant light bulb moment for me. 

Compliments of Google Images
As I think about tale of two conversations, I was on both sides of the track.  Both of these opportunities to learn more about myself are important. One is not better than the other.  In the first conversation, I was leading the conversation and helping support the teacher.  In the second, I was the learner and grasping for one strategy to modify the talk in my math workshop.  One strategy was all that I could hear and begin to think about for talk in math. How many times do our students feel that way in our classroom? Both experiences helped me to remember the importance of teachers as learners.


  1. It is really important to think about the process of learning. So often we are focused on what we are going to teach we miss reflecting on how we teach and learn. I love the visual of both sides of the track. Thank you for sharing.

    1. And that process tends to get lost with our busy lives. I am thankful I had both opportunities so close together.