Archive for September, 2010

Grandma Knows Best

I love my grandmother. She was a first grade teacher then a reading specialist for many, many years. Before that, she taught in a country school.

I’ve been keeping her apprised of the trials and tribulations of implementing reader’s workshop. I was particularly cranky today because I approached the only other teacher in my district and was not warmly received.  I am sure you all know what I am talking about, given the mood after a day of mandatory PD. So anyway, this is when I am glad I have twitter and the English Companion Ning.

Anyway, I still question and struggle with what I am doing and wonder if it is the right thing. Even more stupidly, I worry someone will “find out” and tell me to stop before I have a year of data to prove that it works.

My grandma, who is 92, told me this story. She was working with her high reading group in primary grades. She was sitting with the teacher’s edition and the kids had their student editions. The student, frustrated with the comprehension questions she was stopping to ask, said,

“Mrs. Norris, I think you have the wrong book. Here, this is what we’re reading,” and gave her his book.

I just love this story. It validates for me a lot of instincts that are coming alive as I’m exploring readers’ workshop with my kids this year– instincts that I think were squelched by my formal teacher training.

My grandma also suggested that after I spend some time establishing expectations, I can train other students to do peer conferencing, maybe while taking notes for. I LOVE this idea, I have 120 students, I think it’s going to work well and I know it will be good for my readers. I can think of so many students who maybe are not grade level or prolific readers who would be great at peer conferencing.


Grandma at a Reading Conference.

Grandma, reporting back to school after summer

Grandma, in the white blouse, ecstatic about all-day meetings during report-back week. 🙂


My favorite, taken after her first year of teaching. Does that look feel familiar?


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