(Click above for previous Saturday Sayings.)
Once again I've found this to be true. It only took a few days into the school year to discover yet another piece of my daily curriculum that was putting my little learners into a pretty little box instead of setting them free to really show what they could do. It isn't the first time, and it certainly won't be the last. Here's a synopsis of my most resent epiphany.
For years I've launched writing workshop with a single sheet of writing paper that looks like this.
Within a few weeks I'd progress to booklets made of three pages but with more lines and less empty space for pictures. Thanks to my teaching neighbor, Marie, I found out what happens when the first thing writers ever see is a booklet. They write more. Duh. Part of me feels silly for never seeing this before. There will always be a few who struggle whether there are two lines or three pages, but the rest will actually have the opportunity to show what they can really do. How can they share their potential when they're put in a box with only two measly lines?
Like I said, this isn't the first time I've limited my students, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last. For example, I've made some eye-opening discoveries about their math skills within the past few years. (Read here if you're interested.) Also, I'm sure as I become more familiar with the Common Core, there will be moments of thinking, "First graders can do that?" If I remember what Debbie Miller says, I might just find out that they certainly can.
(Thanks to my teaching neighbor Marie for inspiring me.)