Sunday, July 30, 2006


I am totally invigorated! I spent the past four days doing three different trainings for teachers! All three trainings focused on getting the Differentiated Instruction block organized around Literacy Centers.

Wednesday was spent with new teachers in our district. Some are brand new and others are simply moving from another district. It didn't matter which category they were from, their eyes reflected the excitement and tension of beginning a new school year in a new place. They are refreshing. They come with so many ideas and are ready and willing to try them out in their new surroundings.

Thursday, I spent with an entire staff. It is also fun to talk to teachers who have been in the field for quite some time. One teacher came up to me and told me that she was in her 36th year! And she said, "I'm learning things today." That is exciting!

I really view myself as a life-long learner. I am constantly willing to view new things and review my practice. Admittedly, though, there are times when I don't WANT to let go of my past and do something new. I only hope that when I have been in the field for 36 years, I am STILL able to say with a smile, "I learned something today!"

The third training was done in a neighboring county. It included 80 K-5 teachers and administrators. Their zeal and enthusiasm was also refreshing. Many told me they had spent many days already in training this summer. Yet, they got up early on a Saturday to come talk about teaching and learning in the elementary classroom! Amazing!

I love this profession! I have such a great opportunity to talk to teachers from all around our state and country. This allows me to see the greatness that really CAN be found in public education!

I hope that no matter where you are on the continuum of teaching, whether a beginner or standing at the door of retirement, that you find yourself a learner this year! As Marcel Proust says:
The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.

May we all find new eyes with which to view the coming school year!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

I LOVE this time of year!!

It is July. I can almost "smell" the start of school in a few weeks. I have been to several workshops and am once again re-charged for a new year.

Florida celebrated with a Literacy Coaches conference this week that was outstanding. They sponsored 3600 Literacy Coaches and Principals from throughout the state for this three day event. I expect them to post handouts and presentation notes any day here.

As I watched all the Coaches and their Principals this week, I realized a couple of things:

First, this relationship differs from school to school. For some, the conversations are limited and relatively non-existant. For others, the relationship is an integral part of the culture and climate of the school.

Second, many of the coaches are at differing levels of expertise. Some, truly are literacy experts. They know current reading research and best-practice. Others, though, seem mis-placed. Almost like fish out of water. They have that glazed look that says, "I don't know what I'm doing, how to do it, or why I should."

Events like the Just Read Florida conference can help close the gaps that DO exist from person to person and school to school. It helps to give a shared experience and then highlight the potential of the Literacy Coaching position at a school site.

Florida is doing something else that I believe will help close the gap that exists. They have created the Florida Literacy Coaches Association.

This is an organization that supports coaches and anyone else who wants to support coaches and their role in helping increase student literacy skills.

I love this time of year! I am re-generated, rejuvinated and ready to go. Happy July!!