The Big Fresh October 27, 2018 Stretching
A mind that is stretched by experience can never go back to its comfortable old dimensions.
When to stretch? If you work out, you know there is a debate about whether it’s best to stretch before or after exercise. It turns out that is a trick question, since the answer is neither. It’s not that a good stretch can’t be beneficial at any time, but the best time to stretch is after 5-10 minutes of light activity. Your blood is pumping, your muscles are warmed up, and the stretch will do you the most good.
I remember a few years ago filming Aimee Buckner in a Maine classroom and how she limbered up for her work. She was visiting for demonstration lessons and conferring with kids in fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms. We gathered the children in the meeting area in the first classroom and Aimee took a seat.
Stretching is all about extending your reach -- to go just a bit further than you did a moment or week ago. But it can also be a little painful. It’s worth it because it leaves you stronger -- more flexible and resilient. Watching Aimee, I realized the best classes I’ve taught with adults had a lot of warm-up time built in -- time to chat while everyone arrived, time to linger after most of the participants rushed out the door to get back to their classrooms or head home.
If you don’t stretch, you risk doing some damage that might set you back for days or weeks. That’s why we push ourselves to slow down in classrooms, even when it feels like everyone is telling us to hurry up. Aimee took a seat, and chatted with those children like she had all the time in the world. Because she knew and so did they that she would soon be challenging them to think hard about words on a page and grow in their thinking, with a new teacher and a bunch of strangers pointing cameras at them. That’s a stretch for any 10-year-old. And I know I grew and learned from watching her prepare to teach.
This week we look at what constitutes evidence -- from teachers poring over assessment data to students making claims for texts. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
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Heather Rader shares her experiences working with a teacher team led by an outspoken leader. With listening and support, the team examines evidence in a new way:
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Gretchen Schroeder finds just telling her high school class to include textual evidence when making points and arming them with sticky notes leaves many students bewildered. She regroups and comes up with activities to scaffold their understanding of what makes for valid evidence:
That's all for this week!
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