By Janice Ewing
“Transforming wonderings into questions is the start of teacher research” (Hubbard & Power, 2003).
This month on our blog we’ve been exploring the challenges and rewards of research and inquiry. Tricia Ebarvia shared the thoughtful process she has developed with her students in “Updating the Research Paper” and Rita Sorrentino examined the timely issue of “Why Johnny Can’t Search.” These and numerous other posts have inspired me to reflect on the value of teacher research and inquiry and on PAWLP’s role in creating a culture that invites us into these practices and sustains their growth. Read more
By Kathleen Hall Scanlon
“You have one weapon & one weapon only: Use it. It is your ability to teach.”
– Alice Walker
“My student teachers usually observe for two weeks before I give up my classes,” my 28-year-old cooperating teacher announced. I, however, expected to teach immediately. I’d just completed a stellar initial experience in Allentown after observing for a single day. As I departed Allen High, three tenth graders – two African Americans and one Latina – wished they could accompany me to Reading. I wondered why.
“You’ll see.” Read more
By June Shultz
Today, with all the requirements put on teachers beyond the classroom, i.e. testing, assessments, evaluations, public relations, communications with parents/guardians, etc… How does a good teacher remain a good teacher and meet the needs of all the students in the classroom?
As a classroom teacher of many years’ experience, beginning at the high school, moving to preschool, and then to elementary and finally to middle school, I have seen teachers “burn out” with all the stress of trying to “do it all.” One of the ways that I was able to overcome the stress of not being fully appreciated by administrators and sometimes colleagues was through my association with other outstanding teachers. Read more
by Rose Cappelli
In his book, The Energy to Teach, Donald Graves says, “We can never underestimate the energy contained in learning” (79). Since I consider myself a life-long learner, I think it is learning that is at the heart of what keeps me motivated and helps me to sustain positive energy.
In 1997 I attended my first Keystone State Reading Association Conference. I was there for only one day, but I remember trying to get to as many sessions as possible. I recall scribbling notes as fast as I could in my notebook, writing my own thoughts in the margins as to how I might apply this new learning. Sometimes it was a question, sometimes a child’s name, sometimes a star or an exclamation mark – something to show the learning I wanted to return to and apply. That first conference experience opened up a whole new world of professional development for me. Read more
by Nora Ziegler
This summer I began to worry about how I needed to change my teaching strategies to help my third grade students meet the challenges of the Common Core, so I did what I always do – I found a book chock full of great ideas I could implement in my classroom. That book was The Core 6: Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence with the Common Core by Silver, Dewing, and Perini, published by ASCD in 2012. What a goldmine! As Heidi Hayes- Jacobs says in the forward, this book is actually an edu-toolkit with instructional strategies that should be implemented at all grade levels. Here are briefs on each of the strategies: Read more
By Janice Ewing & Mary Buckelew
Several of us had the good fortune to attend the National Writing Project and National Council of Teachers of English annual conferences, which were back-to-back in Boston from Nov. 20th to 24th. One of the NWP standout sessions for me was “Narrative Troubles (and that’s a good thing): On Why and How to Find, Shape, and Share Stories of Classroom Life.” I was drawn to this session because I believe that, more than ever, teachers need to support each other and advocate for themselves as a group. I also believe that this can start with sharing our stories. Read more