Thursday, May 30, 2013

How am I supposed to read these if I have no idea what they are?

During this age of APPR, we are all having LOTS more observations and visitations!  Not only do the administrators come by, but so do my grad students.  I hate to admit this, but my grad students (while admittedly focusing on the positive sides of things) are great for my own self reflection!  I sure wish we could get back to the days when we did more PEER visits and critiques!  They really are important ways to see ourselves as others see us! 
I did NOT write this, but I really do LIVE this life.  A.S. came had to observe a literacy specialist and wrote this summary about me! 

I got the pleasure of observing the day in the life of my professor while she was at work as a literacy specialist. However, that title isn't necessarily fitting. She was WAY more than a literacy specialist... she was a sense of comfort, a comedienne, a teacher, and of course a yoga instructor amongst other things. Stepping outside of my bubble and into a new setting was exciting, and below I will describe what I learned!

First session: Multitasking at its finest!
The two girls were there for a quick session since they had other obligation but Dr. Ferreri wasted no time! She engaged them by looking at the maple syrup they were making which related to a book they recently read. Then it was time to hear them read... different words/lists...while making sure they were on task... and listening attentively to the one reading... WHAT? The scene I just described sounds chaotic but it wasn't at all. Dr. Ferreri used non-verbal cues to keep the students on track. The fact that she differentiated even though there were only 2 children made me wonder why I am not differentiating for my 10 kids?

Session Two: My favorite line of the day/week/month/year/life 
 Out went the girls and in entered two boys! There was no time for slowing down! This is where the boys were reading nonsense words. ( Words that are "real" but that the students wouldn't know the meaning.) One of the boys, halfway through the list said, "How am I supposed to read these if I have no idea what they are?" I sat there, reflecting on the work my students do, and wondered if I should cry or laugh! I chose to do the latter of the two, however, why should I expect my kids to read words in isolation that have no meaning for them?

In this session, Dr. Ferreri also taped the boys reading and asked them to reflect on their reading. What a great idea! They could easily identify where they were struggling and what they did well... an important tool in improving! This session was even more eye-opening than the first... and I couldn't help but think about my own teaching the entire time.

Session Three: "Good old Mrs. Ferreri, when will you ever learn?" (patting her on the head)
Why did this young man say this to my professor? I honestly forget! But, it was just so funny! The comfort level between the student and teacher was evident. Students enjoy their time with Dr. Ferreri! This lesson involved the use of pictures to drive instruction. They were discussing the setting, characters, characters' feelings, etc. all by interpreting the pictures. Picture walking is truly essential to comprehension!

Session 3.5: Brief Meeting w/ a student
Teaching isn't perfect. Enter the cutest curly-haired girl! After beginning a running record earlier in the day, and being interrupted and forced to stop, the girl picked up right where she left off. She proved that she was ready to read at this text level independently even though the record was taken at different times. Teaching isn't perfect. We do what we can, when we can!

Session Four: FULL on fun ;)
I must admit, I had the most fun at the end of day, in the session with the two boys who were in the room for "Resource Room." I thought, I didn't know Resource Room was in the job description for a literacy specialist!? This was such a treat! The boys, who were eager and ready to learn worked together on a (horrible) map worksheet. One of them even said, "Let's work together so we don't get anything wrong!"

Then, it was yoga time! What an exciting way to end the day. The students and teacher switched roles after reviewing the poses, given the students the reins. They had to recall the moves and instruct us respectfully. I loved taking off my shoes, stretching on the carpet and relaxing to end a hectic Friday.

Stepping outside of my literacy world was an amazing experience! I was exposed to different facets of instruction and the crazy busy schedule that literacy specialist face! (How does she eat lunch!?!) it is important for future literacy specialists to observe as many settings as possible since we don't know what setting will be our final destination. Overall, I had a great day and learned a great deal about balancing, practicing, instructing, and reflecting!

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