Home » Uncategorized » The View from Saturday #4

The View from Saturday #4


On most days, there are moments when I wonder if it would have been best to turn away from Reading and Writing Workshop when I discovered the “nature of my group.” Some days there are just a couple of moments. Some days it seems like one constant moment. But then, it doesn’t seem fair to teach in a way I don’t believe in, just because the students aren’t on board…yet.

I’ve realized that, while I’m, technically, attempting and reflecting on my first true foray into Reading and Writing Workshop, for most of this class, we are not working on Reading and Writing, exactly (too many commas!). For a lot of these students, what I’m really working on is being responsible, being respectful, being kind, being independent, and caring–about themselves, about others, and about learning.

I rearranged the seating this week. Now I have two groups–four students each (actually, one group is just one student, since two of them are now SpEd pullouts, and one was suspended…)–that are the talkers, the off-taskers, the out-of-their-seaters. And five groups–four students each–of students that are capable of working independently without too much of my hovering oversight.

We will see how it goes. Hopefully, I can devote some very focused, very firm energy and instruction on the “tough” groups. And then, again hopefully, that will pay off and I will actually be able to confer with students during independent time, instead of just managing. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the best manager. But I’m certainly getting a lot of practice.

I’ll be calling some parents this week. I’ll be setting goals with the tough groups. I’ll be working on staying patient and calm (which I always was before). I’ll be working hard to get everyone on the same side–the side of learning.

But first, I need a long, quiet time to myself. Maybe a book. Maybe a nap. Maybe just closing my eyes and letting the quiet surround me and calm me and become me and refresh me.

I’m glad you’re with me.




  1. A colleague of mine this week worked on anchor charts for her Reading and Math Workshops. Then she hung them over her small group table, so she can point to them, as needed, to refer students to her expectations. I think her charts included, “looks like, sounds like, feels like.”

    I like how you are realizing that there is more to what you are teaching than just Reading and Writing. You are helping your students learn a process for collaboration, building stamina, problem solving and practicing authentic tasks. Keep on keeping on! I look forward to reading your updates.

    • I love “Looks Like, Sounds Like” charts. We’ve had one up for our Reading and Writing Workshop since the second week of school. We also have them for “Listen to Understand” and “Honor Private Think Time.”

      I refer to them a lot. We review them often. The great frustration, for me, is that we have spent hours and hours establishing, together, what our very best classroom will look and sound like, and a few students just don’t seem to care. I am working, working, working on it. But many days it makes me crazy, and breaks my heart.

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