Teaching used to be easy. Spend a few hours planning; consult the teacher’s manual and curriculum guide; sprinkle in differentiation; make sure to hit all learning styles; assign projects and papers. Repeat. Why was I teaching the way I had been taught? From time to time I’d wonder if there was a better way—then I started searching for a better way. Lucking upon a conference by Nancie Atwell was my deliverance. Yeah, said that little voice, it works for her! You teach 100! It’ll never work! Then a one-week internship at the Center for Teaching and Learning.
It was like watching God teach.
Now I have to work hard every second of every class, plan constantly, really know my kids, and decide what they need next. What’s changed? I turn to master teachers, reflection, and research. I let the students guide the next step, not the manual. I WORK. And I love it.
--Carey Fox, Highland Middle School, Libertyville, Illinois
12 years of teaching
NCTE Resources . . .
In the Middle: New Understandings about Writing, Reading, and Learning, Second Edition by Nancie Atwell
First published in 1987, In the Middle has been widely hailed for its honest examination of how teachers teach, how students learn, and the gap that lies between. In the second edition, Atwell reflects on the next 10 years of her experience, rethinks and clarifies old methods, and demonstrates new, more effective approaches.
Reading and Writing Workshop: Freak the Mighty
Lessons include teaching and practicing the comprehension strategies of predicting with support and making personal connections, focusing on the use of voice in one’s writing, figurative language, vocabulary development, and word study.
"Using the Internet in Reading and Writing Workshop," School Talk, April 1999.
Classroom teachers Cora Lee Five and Marie Dionisio discuss the potential use of the World Wide Web to support reading and writing workshop.