Thursday, March 10, 2016

{solsc} Shine #sol16

The March Slice of Life Challenge
hosted by The Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!

This week my colleague, Matt, and I had the pleasure of hosting site visits for two different teams of educators from other school districts.  We wanted the visits to be useful for these teachers so we planned out a schedule that provided them with observations in three classrooms, where they were able to see the reading and writing workshop in action.  After each workshop,  the host classroom teacher joined us for a debrief session, allowing our visitors to ask questions about not only what they had observed, but also general questions about each teacher's experience with using the Units of Study for Reading and Writing. 

Watching our host teachers navigate their reading/writing workshop, the observer might think it's seamless and effortless. Transitions are smooth. Students are engaged. There's a tone within the classroom that its members are about to embark on serious work. There's community. There's REAL reading and busy work to be found here! However, what was seen in these classrooms was accomplished through reflective effort on each teacher's part. I get to see this mastery every day, but to see it again through someone else's eyes, was so powerful.

Moving into each debrief, we made a conscious decision to take a back seat, allowing our teachers to take the lead in the conversations. I was reminded yet again just how fortunate I am to be doing this coaching work.  Each teacher articulated their 'story' with confidence, answering questions with thoughtful reflection of the instructional decisions and teaching moves they made. As I listened to them talk, I was struck by the fact that this was even more about giving my teachers the opportunity to reflect, as it was giving visiting teams the opportunity to see the work in progress.

And here's the thing that makes this all the more wonderful. Our visitors could come back tomorrow, unannounced, and see the exact same level of excellence in our classrooms. This is the work we do, every day, whether the spotlight is shining on it or not.

I'm just fortunate to be able to shine the light. 


  1. I have been looking for you on SOL -- glad to find you! This sounds amazing! It is so great when we can show that authentic reading and writing works! What a wonderful experience for all of you!

    1. Thank you Clare! I really love the site visits! I've seen the confidence of our host teachers increase ten fold. It's good to step outside of the work to reflect...they don't give themselves enough credit!

  2. This sounds like a wonderful school to work in and to learn in! Congratulations on your successful hosting.

  3. It sounds like an amazing visit - and you are right, it's always about the work we do, every day.

  4. There's nothing like listening to a confident teacher tell her story!

  5. As one of the visiting teachers-it was truly fantastic. Visiting other schools and teachers is valuable professional development and your school was a perfect one to visit. The debrief sessions were a great bonus! Thank you to both you and Matt for your organization of the whole day.