Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Thanks so much to everyone who posted today. I loved seeing how people applied Johnston to their own teaching situations. Lots and lots of good dialogue. Decided I would move all of people's posts for today to a new roundup post. If anyone else posts later tonight or this week, I will add them.
  • Deb Frazier started the conversation. She tweeted me with her link before I was even done writing mine last night. I could soooo identify with many of her comments about classroom community and management!
  • Jill Balen, another literacy coach, synthesized the book into a gorgeous "meditation" that I am going to #1, put on an index card and read every morning, and #2, try to write myself, because then maybe the book really would go deeper inside of my brain. Jill doesn't have her own blog yet (I'm hoping that changes really soon because I'd love to read more of her thinking!) so I am posting her synthesis here (When she wrote it, she put each thing on a different line, but for some reason Blogspot is not letting me do that tonight. Sorry, Jill!)
Listen.  Create space and time for dialogue.This means—slow down.No rushing in with the answer,allow uncertainty to feed wonder and discovery.Make room for confusion in conversation.Give it permission to spur dialogue,to build collaborative thinkingto create knowledge together.Remember that teaching changes worlds.How will I know?Listen to the students. What are they talking about?There is the answer. 
  • Dawn has also managed to distill Johnston's thinking into a short, succinct reflection that she can carry in her head and her heart. She is practicing Johnston's language on her six-year-old daughter's reading. Dawn is assembling a bibliography of "Tools for Growing Minds." She's categorized books into three categories- building community, developing moral agency and teaching civic engagement. Don't miss that link!
  • Jill has organized her takeaways into three professional goals for 2012-2013. I love her what/why/how format, and am thinking that might help me get a better grasp on my thinking. 
  • Be sure to stop by Heart of a Teacher, where LitProf Suz has linked Johnston's work to that of Gail Tompkins. Suz also takes readers on a field trip to a third grade classroom, where we get to "hear" some very thoughtful third graders reflect on their learning. 
  • Michelle integrated Johnston's work with comments from the #cyberpd Twitter conversation, then included some takeaways for her classroom. She hopes that our conversation will continue into this year. I do too, Michelle; I'm feeling like I still have lots to learn from our conversations!
  • Laura has already started working on implementing Johnston's work by moving her classroom around to provide large spaces for dialogue and group meetings. She came across a blog post by a principal who has created "prayer cards" to summarize his professional reading. Thinking about trying to create a few of those myself. (She also reports that her seven-month-old-niece has not offered many opportunities for practice; my teenagers haven't either)!
  • Cathy Mere has decided that she is going to talk to her students about "learning from one another" as opposed to "listening to one another." Cathy has created a series of bulleted points that she wants to work on, I think any one of these would be a great mini-lesson. She has also created some sentence frames that I think kids would find really helpful. And she's pulling together bibliographies of picture books she can use with kids. Wow, wow, wow!
  • Amy Rudder noticed many "Parallels and Intersections" between professional development she has had as a literacy coach in her school district,  and what she's read in Opening Minds. I know her colleagues will find her connections super helpful!
Thanks again to everyone who participated! (If you still want to add something, come on over-- it's not too late!) I'm hoping we will continue some of these conversations this year!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for your kind comments Carol. This work brings out the poetic in me... it has been a long time in coming. But it is the confluence of many minds that inspires the one. I am renovating my house, maintaining my gardens in this drought, completing some grad work, thinking about my goals for this year, going global, and starting a blog. I am having soooo much fun!