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April 27, 2022
Vol. 79
No. 6

Reader's React / The Adaptive Reader

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Having Better Classroom Conversations

Me casually scrolling through Twitter when—BAM!—one of the most amazing ideas I've ever read comes out of nowhere and blows my mind. This is next-level writing, inquiry, and collaboration without any extra demands on the teacher ["Listen Up! A Strategy for Classroom Conversations" by Matthew R. Kay].
Brett Bowers (@brettbowersAVID)
With a huge shout out to Matthew Kay, I am going to explicitly teach my students how to take notes of each other and annotate conversation. Discussion is the work!
This is a Grade 6 class, and we have had discussion all year, and already, students are verbally joining and synthesizing conversations. So I know this is a natural next step. We had an epic talk before the break around this prompt: "What is something you find challenging as a kid you wish more adults understood?" The conversation went all around the room, with no hands being raised, just one person going after another. Mental health, the concept of being caught in-between a child and an adult, and essentially feeling not listened to were all topics that came up. It was beautiful in the sense that it facilitated itself.
My plan is to bring this prompt up again, and this time, give them this guided template to help as the conversation goes on. Feel free to use if you think it's helpful.
Heidi Allum (@heidi_allum)

Shorter Planning Cycles for the Win!

["The Problem with Annual Improvement Planning" by Robyn R. Jackson] is so good. From leading indicators to lagging indicators, predictable meeting cadence, and cycles for improvement. Well said, Robyn!
Carrie Rosebrock (@CarrieRosebrock)
Leading and lagging indicators was my a-ha moment. This is exactly what my principal and I have been discussing—putting too much focus on the lagging indicators and not enough focus on the leading indicators. This perfectly articulated our current frustrations. Powerful!
Erin Hicks (@GES_ErinHicks)
Some good nuggets in here, especially as we're working to plan for next school year. [Robyn Jackson's] 90-day plan with the daily, weekly, and monthly meeting frameworks sounds like a win!
Gregory Gardner, Jr. (@thatmancanteach)

Not Enough Time

[In response to "Planning Lessons for Multilingual Learners" by Tan K. Huynh (online article)]. I'd like to see a pie chart that shows what teachers should be focused on, how they should (in theory) divide their time. I agree that all the different educational initiatives to help our wide variety of learners are interesting and hold merit. I also know that it's not humanly possible to emphasize everything when you're just one person. What percentage of time should a classroom teacher focus on language learner planning/support, and how much should come from a specialist who works directly with the student?
I don't have an answer. But working almost 24/7 for six years with exactly this type of class and nearly no support, [yet with administration] fully expecting me to differentiate for each student, had me in tears, with no time to eat or sleep, and ultimately took me out of the K–12 classroom.
Teachers are often told to do "one more thing." It's not possible, and it leads to burnout.
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