Here is my update:
1. I ordered five books for the ela department at my school, and I babbled about the signposts to any ela teacher who would give me the time of day while walking down the hall, when waiting for meetings to start, and with them cornered in their rooms. I even wrote babbling emails to the other teachers on my grade level. Two teachers at my school purchased the book on their own. Heinemann, I think I deserve royalties or something of the sort.
2. I convinced my husband he needed to try out Notice and Note with his high school ela students. He’s purchased two books for his department.
3. I tried out the first signpost with amazing results during my NBI class (yes, this was after ordering five books for the department). I did the model lesson for Contrasts and Contradictions (see anchor chart at end of post).
The next day I sent my students with Post-Its to find contrasts and contradictions in the book we’re reading. Here are a few things my students noticed and noted from Milkweed by Spinelli:
- Enos (I think that’s the character’s name) doesn’t believe in Moms. He told another character that he believes even the women with infants are phonies. I told the student that I wasn’t sure that was a contrast/contradiction for the character because Enos is so negative and doesn’t believe in much good, but I could see it to be a contradiction to what we think is the norm of a child. After that lesson, I read the Q & A at the end of the chapter on Contrasts and Contradictions (perhaps reading the complete chapter ahead of time would have been helpful), I read that with historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy the contradiction lies what is contradictory towards our setting. Interesting and very revealing. What a revealing contrast and an important point to make in teaching the Signposts of Contrasts and Contradictions.
- Misha stood still while the Jackboots (Nazis) walked by. I asked the student why that was a contrast. She told me that before Misha has followed the Jackboots admiring their uniforms, while wishing to become one of them. Now Misha is afraid of the Jackboots. Wow!
- Uncle Shepsel ate a rat. Uncle Shepsel is stripped of his humanity, is accepting whatever “food” he is given, and is forced to eat a rat to survive. Another sharp contradiction and insight from a sixth grader.
Even though this is a giant leap and I want to get all the teachers to jump right in with me and read the book and make six anchor charts, I realize that I have to slow down a little. I have to take time to reflect and see the successes and work through the hard parts in order to get buy in from other teachers. More than that, though, I can’t force others to jump into uncharted territory in the way I do.
I remember a few years back a teacher told me that she didn’t care what I read in a professional book. She said she didn’t have time for that and that all she cared about was what I had tried and what worked. I will never be that teacher who doesn’t make time to read professionally nor will I completely understand that mindset, though I may envy it a bit–especially as I am blogging at 1:15 AM. Still what I need to realize as a teacher leader is that I need to assume the role of coach, being sure I can walk others through the tough parts and knowing I can prove what works and what is effective.
As I take my giant leaps finding them inspiring and exhilarating, I must realize that there are so many others who need to approach change slowly with baby steps.