Revision

Lately, it’s all revision.  Every action in the workplace, every discussion…my updates on the garden or the finances.  Student tests, reports.  Looking again and rewriting it maybe a bit better.

This afternoon I completed the second year of support for teachers at a dual immersion K-8 school.  We began with celebration:  fresh strawberries, chocolate and fizzy water.  The principal sent in ice cream and sundae fixings.  So when the teachers arrived it seemed like a party.

Instead of going straight to celebrating the writing they brought, we celebrated the teachers’ genius.  I had them remember a moment this year when their teaching was gold. A time you are really proud of…(I could see when they had a real memory in mind.)  I asked them to walk across the room (with their treat) and share that moment with another teacher.  Now the party talk was on.  Warm and real.

Then we did a modified version from Bohner’s Gems – a round robin share in small groups selected by numbering off.  Funny how hard it is for teachers to stop presenting the lessons and talk simply about how a piece of writing affects them.  After that fun, we opened Units of Study and calendars and questions and got to deciding what to try next year in addition to our first attempts this year.

It was lovely and perfect for the mood to be like a party.  Add to end of year pressures that planning is difficult with teachers who have been told a new curriculum is going to show up — and nobody knows for sure what it is.  “Plan your writing around what students need to learn and practice,” I urged.  “When the boxes show up, then you can see what you might want to match up with reading goals.”

The most interesting discussion was with the TK teacher and a kindergarten teacher, as we waded into the If..Then… first unit.  We had a lively conversation and I had to make myself move to other groups.

It is all revision.  Map where you’d like to take your students, but be prepared to change it when the whatever shows up.  The principal told me aside, “And those don’t usually include good writing instruction…”

The strawberries were eaten.  Someone put the melting ice cream away in a fridge.  We said our friendly farewells.  And exchanging thanks, the principal said she’d be in touch about ways to continue support.  And I’m immensely relieved another extra thing is completed and done well.

So the year was a huge revision since we had the actual UOS materials.  And who know what the need will be next year.  One of my possible revisions is no extra things. 

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