Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another Day With Debbie Miller

So Thursday night I stayed up late thinking I would have trouble sleeping anyway, and I was right, I awoke 20 minutes later than I wanted on Friday morning and flew through my routine. I arrived later than I wanted to my classroom but I still wasn't late. Debbie had not arrived yet and so I busied myself in my room making sure everything was perfect. My stomach was not a ball of nerves, I was not nervous, but I was jittery. I was anticipating the day, I was hoping she would approve of the work I had done with my students, I was hoping she would see my anchor charts and affirm my work. (Weird huh?)
I helped others find the room we would be filling, I talked with my friends, and then there she was walking down my hallway. I introduced her to some colleagues, showed her where she would be speaking, and then took her luggage to my van. When I returned to the building she asked to tour my room. She walked in and took a circle around my room, we discussed the individuals that would be attending today, and then made a decision about what they needed to see her do in my classroom. She decided that they would benefit from seeing my room as a room where Readers' Workshop had been in place for a long time. What an affirmation that my work is apparent!
The time arrived my students gathered on the rug, she read them the Alphabet Tree by Lee Lioni, and then dismissed them to go "happy reading." My students went dutifully to their seats, got their books out and began, and Debbie Miller had true conversations with my pumpkins. I stood back and reflected what I was learning from this whole experience.
-I need to live in the moment during workshop, I cannot let others things seep into my time. I need to be in the moment so that I can really listen. I need to sloooooowwwww doooowwwwn!Listening is very important and I need to be better at it!
-I need to read Choice Words by Peter Johnston. I feel like I am careful about what I say with children but that I am still learning. Researching this more can only make me better.
-I think what my facilitators learned is that this sort of reading instruction is the most important, and it doesn't fit into a little box that McGraw Hill is selling. Reading and thinking go hand in hand.
"If we teach kids to be readers and thinkers the assessments will show that." -Debbie Miller.
They have some really challenging thinking that is going to come from this workshop! Talk more about that...and keep me posted ladies!
-I have a lot of work ahead of me, I am challenged by her thinking, challenged by her words. I think that if I didn't come away feeling that way, then she would feel like she wasn't doing her job. She challenges me, in every way imaginable, and I relish in the fact that we all challenge her. She is a lifelong learner, not the master of it all. I like that about her.
As I dropped Debbie off at the airport she hugged me and told me what a pleasure it was to spend this time together. It was the experience of a lifetime, one I will cherish for a lifetime. It was a chance to challenge my beliefs, question their alignment, and continue practicing!


Katie Dicesare said...

Sounds like an awesome day...leaving with affirmations and more to think about. Isn't it about constantly learning and thinking?

Cathy said...

I think that was the best thing about watching her...that what I do in my room does matter.

I wish you could watch my class as we read Tale of Despereaux...we created a timeline and today as I was reading and Miggery went into the dungeon (a day after Despereaux) a student got up and used his pencil to add to the timeline AS I WAS READING. True demonstration of learning at the time. It was great!!!!!!!! And then two students created the morning board for tomorrow and they drew a dungeon and put Skippito in it because that's where Miggery is it!

Hope all is well!

Melissa Taylor said...

I love Debbie - she was one of the teachers we at PEBC here in Colorado would take teachers to watch. Her classroom was amazing!

I left teaching to stay at home and am returning from mommyland. I'm happy to hear Debbie is helping the world still.

Melissa Taylor