Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Teaching with Intention - Reflection #6

Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller is the focus for this year and the Literacy Connection group here in Central Ohio.  My sixth reflection comes in response to reading Chapter 6, Lesson Design: Creating Lessons Based on Principles and Practices You Believe In.  Debbie's work in this chapter is sharing, reflecting, encouraging, and guiding teachers to see her process in using her lesson design tool.  As Debbie does best, she encourages the reader to develop their own lesson design tool that reflects what we believe in.  As a reader, I feel like Debbie Miller is my own personal cheerleader.  I can't wait to meet her in person when she comes to Ohio. 

Debbie's lesson design plan is in depth, thoughtful, and guides her thinking.  It is modeled after the gradual release model with these components;  teacher modeling, guided practice within the lesson, guided practice beyond the lesson, independent practice and application.  Phew!  With this being my second year back at kindergarten after a long time away I agreed and loved this quote Debbie shared when thinking about planning prior to developing her lesson design.  "Children and I flitted from one topic to another  - it was like we studied everything and nothing."  I know to really grasp the content in all academic areas it takes time, reflection, and more time.  I had a mentor once tell me early on in my career, "it takes 5 years to make a good teacher."  I was a little sad to hear this at first but I now understand the journey it takes to understand children at a certain age group and the curriculum.  So, when I get in a little frenzy about having the moon, the stars and the sun all in alignment I think back to my wise friend, take a deep breath and say, "I've got time.

Assessment is a big focus for my district right now.  The formative vs. summative, along with unit designs, knowing content standards and I Can statements.  I love this thought on assessment from Debbie, "I assess where students are (this take place throughout the workshop and all phases of gradual release.)  It's important to look at what we do daily to guide the next day. 

These are some thoughts that Debbie wrote that jumped out to me as I read through her lesson design example and thinking.

-"the best way to begin teaching children something new is to show them how."
-"children's voices keep my teaching real."
-"synthesizing information...enhances everyone's understanding but also inspire other children to think for themselves."
-"we want evidence of how kids were applying what we'd taught them."
-"I will show you how I go about doing this, but in the end, I want you to figure out how this works for you."

Debbie does let the reader know her lesson design plan works for all content areas.  I would like to think I'm as intentional as Debbie models but I'm wondering if by writing it out so explicitly it would be more intentional. 


  1. The quote about "5 years to make a teacher," is so true. I think back to some of my own practices from five years ago (I won't mention 10...) and think, "Thank God I have moved on from then."
    I would like to think we never stop learning as teachers. The good teachers are the ones who are constantly looking for more ideas and more creative ways to reach their learners.
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. Debbie as your cheerleader cracks me up! She is so inspiring and she does give us room to breathe, find our voice in teaching~ all the while guiding us through her writing. As I type this I wonder if she is "gradually releasing" us too!
    Thanks for sharing! I love coming back to your post after mine is up to see what I missed in my reading, always interesting to see what you gained from Debbie.

  3. Debf, I love seeing your posts go up and then I wait to have you read mine. Thank you for the comments back and sharing this journey with me. As I began posting and writing the last few, I wondered if Debbie will ever see these and if my thinking follows her hopes as a writer. That is a bit intimitating.