At the very first of this chapter, Regie Routman says, "once students believe 'I can do it!' anything is possible." Oh, I so want to create that kind of environment/ belief system in my classroom - but it is not there...yet. This is so frustrating to write this morning, after one of my little friends had a serious meltdown yesterday, basically over his belief that he can't do it - and in his mind, I almost feel like "it" involves everything.
The last part of this chapter, Routman really focuses on celebrating. She reminds us to have "celebrations of specific strength - not idle praise." And her list of celebration includes "affirming, congratulating, showcasing, noticing, and making public ... actions and work learners have done or are attempting to do." I like that last little bit - attempting to do. I have a group of three very low readers, and a second group of low readers. I need to notice - to them! - not only the progress, but the attempts they are making. This is something I feel I need to do a better job at, especially during Guided Reading. And just as I was typing this, I thought, maybe I need to have them think about what they've done - what hard work have they done during our 15 minutes together.
One small thing that Routman said in this chapter is "I try hard not to repeat what students say." Hmmm, that comment got me to thinking. I almost always repeat what students say. And I think I do it so much, they look at me and wait for me to do that. That also got me thinking about my frustration with some of my students who don't seem to be listening during the short 20-25 minutes of whole group reading. Why should they, when I kindly repeat anything that's worth them hearing? Ack! So I'm going to try today, to tell the kids of this new idea I've read about - that they need to listen to each other talk. And I'm already thinking of a few ways to hold them accountable for this. We'll see how it goes.