Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Day of Reflection and Thought...again

I was recently named Teacher of the Year by my peers and as I was filling out all of the paperwork for Teacher of the District, I started looking back over my blog posts from the last year. I came upon this one that I had done back in the summer when I finally made the commitment to use the Daily 5 in its' entirety.  It's kind of interesting to see what a difference a year can make. All of the frustations I had before using Daily 5 are gone.  My students are all really good readers, and more importantly, they love to read and write! 

A Day of Reflection and Thought July 14, 2011
I spent some time on the computer today exploring Google+ and downloading TweetDeck. I also started re-reading The Daily 5. I read this book 2 summers ago while I was in new teacher training. After the training, I was excited and determined to implement The Daily 5  in my classroom. Well, that didn't happen. In fact, for the last 2 years I am embarrassed to say that my classroom has been more like the one described in the first few pages of the book:

We spent too much time managing their behavior, planning activities, and putting out fires instead of teaching.  We didn't have time to plan for excellent instruction that would meet our children's needs, nor did we have enough time for small groups or individual conferences.  We knew there had to be a better way. (Boushey & Moser p. 5)

How had I let my classroom become exactly what I knew it should not?  I'm not really sure. I was able to implement the "Read to Self" component quite easily, but my inexperience combined with some unexpected situations became too overwhelming. I found myself becoming discouraged and started doing what I had observed in other classrooms and just "winging it". Student behavior, paperwork, and new curriculum all played a part in my inability to have full control of my teaching and my classroom.

As I get ready to start my 3rd year, I am no longer able to play the "1st/2nd year teacher card"  but I feel much more prepared than ever. My PLN (Personal Learning Network) has helped and encouraged me tremendously.  At the end of the 2010-11 school year I had no idea that by visiting a few blogs and setting up a Twitter account would open up a whole world of information that was there for the taking. I did not plan on spending my summer fully engaged with other teachers from around the world...but I'm glad I did!

Anyway, enough about me being a bad teacher...I am rejuvenated and ready to take on the world!

My Goals:
  • Implement all 5 components of the Daily 5
  • Integrate student blogging into "Work on Writing"
  • Skype with other classrooms around the world
There! 3 goals. I never set goals before.  My only goal was to make it to the last day of school!

I think 2011-12 is going to be the best one yet!

So! After reading this, I realize how publicly setting goals can be a very good motivator to do what you say you are going to do! 
  • I did implement all components of the Daily 5 and wonder how I taught reading and writing before.
  • I did integrate student blogging into the "work on writing" components and have been amazed at how much better my students are at writing than in past years. They are more motivated to write better now that they know they have an audience that includes their parents, the prinicipals, counselor, other teachers, and students and teachers from other classrooms around the world!
And yes, 2011-12 has been the best one yet!
Now I must get back to my paperwork.


  1. Louise - Congratulations on a well-deserved Teacher of the Year. I can tell through your blog posts what a wonderful, dedicated and talented teacher you are.

    It's fun to go back and read those posts where you publicly make goals. You are so right that once it's in writing then you feel compelled to complete it. I have done this several times with the same result. Perhaps, I need to do it more often. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I'm thinking that your students are very lucky as you reflect upon your practice which will only make you a better teacher.

    Congratulations again and thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Nancy! Teachers like you help inspire me every day!

  2. Congratulations on all your accomplishments! I would love to hear more about your daily 5 implementation. Maybe I just need to go back and read some of your older posts! :)

    1. Thanks! Yes, if you go back to summer and fall of 2011 you will see a lot of Daily 5 posts - including a video what what the Daily 5 looks and sounds like!