What really is equity in education? It's been on my mind and I am sure I am not alone. This pandemic and our new norm have brought this back to the forefront again for me. We know and have discussed the word gap, the knowledge gap or whatever you choose to call it. We talk about schools in low income areas not having enough resources to effectively educate children who are already grade levels behind their peers. We have even come up with a few ideas to help level the playing field so to speak., but this pandemic has exposed some real inequalities to the world. My mind is in deep thought and I am seeking to answer the question: "What can I do to level the playing field?"
Vocabulary Instruction: A Glimpse into the Planning of a Mini Lesson
Vocabulary instruction is teaching children word meaning and usage of words for reading, writing, listening, thinking and speaking. Effective teaching of vocabulary has children being exposed to new, rich, and robust vocabulary words, understanding how to find the meaning of those words, and using those new words in their reading, writing, and speaking. Research says there is not one specific way to teach vocabulary, there are various ways to do so. Teaching vocabulary should have ways for students to have multiple meaningful exposures with unfamiliar words by being intentional with teaching new words, helping students gain word consciousness by having them understand words parts, the contexts words are used in, and having them read deeply and widely in texts that expose they to these words. Understanding the meaning of new words in context helps with comprehension. Choosing the ideal words to focus on when teaching is very important and can have a very big impact on how well new words are retained and used later. It is ideal that students acquire new words in their reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Planning a Lesson
When planning a mini lesson using a mentor text, consider the vocabulary, ideas, and skills you want to teach. As I am planning my mini lesson I pre-read the book, I and consider the teaching points I can make to decide the direction I will go when highlighting and choosing words for students to practice understanding word meanings with. A good narrative text would have several “rich and robust” (Bringing words to life) words for students to be exposed to and will have a well-developed story structure. Because of research I have read, I suggest choosing no more than 3 to 5 words to highlight. I would possibly consider as many as 7 words if the students are older and the mentor text that I use has some words in it that students would need to know in order to comprehend and follow the literary structure of the story. I would consider highlighting words that would help with understanding the theme, story structure, and/or any words that would help me understand and explain a characters feelings, actions, or behaviors as well as those tier 2 (high frequency, multiple meaning words) and tier 3 (low frequency, content specific) words students can benefit from learning. In my planning, I would also consider whether I would take time to focus on the words as I am introducing the book or whether I would discuss the words as I come to them in the text. Here is a peek into the planning of a vocabulary lesson with the mentor text “The Name Jar”.
I am preparing a mini lesson with a focus on vocabulary using the mentor text “The Name Jar” written and illustrated by Yangsook Choi. The story is about a girl named Unhei who has moved from Korea to America and is attending an American school for the first time. Unhei, is unsure about telling her American classmates her name because children on the bus ride to school are having trouble pronouncing it. The theme of the story centers on your name being your identity. I will prepare for several reads of the book because there are various teaching points that can be taken from it. On the first day of the read, I choose to highlight the words fingered, pronounced, souvenir, and blush. As I pre-read, I notice words that are from the Korean culture and other tier 2 words like complained that I choose not to highlight for students before reading the book aloud because they don’t necessarily help with the comprehension of the text or with understanding the theme and not understanding them will not get in the way of students enjoyment of the reading. I chose intentionally not to highlight the Korean words because the author knew that these words might be words that students would not understand and chose to give context clues, whether by defining it or by restating it. I will however, explain that they are examples of using context clues as I think aloud when reading aloud to the students by giving the meaning of other tier 2 words on the fly, by giving a quick synonym of the word and moving on with the story because they help with understanding the theme but may be known by most of the students.
Discussing the Standards and Delivery
I will focus on ELAR TEKS 3.3B and 3.3C states: use context within and beyond the sentence to determine the relevant meaning of an unknown word and determine the meaning of and use affixes to determine the meaning of unknown words. I will use Marzano’s 6 Steps to help students understand the meaning of these words because as I have stated previously, I understand that it takes multiple meaningful exposures to new words for them to stick. This will be done over several days. Here are Marzano’s 6 steps:
On day one of my reading, I will introduce the words fingered, pronounced, souvenir, and blush before reading and give students a kid friendly definition of each word. I want to spark interest in the story so, once I tell students what each word means, I will ask them to think about what they think the story will be about based on those words and the title of the story and share that with their elbow partner. This story is a powerful one about the importance of a name so I will also mention to the children that names sometimes have meaning. Once I began reading I will stop at salient parts of the story to either think aloud or to ask questions about what is happening. I will also use the illustrations to help with comprehension. When I come to the words that I have introduced students to, I will have them restate the meaning of those words. Steps 3-6 of Marzano’s will be completed after the completion of the reading. Because I am focusing on vocabulary, I will alter my voice when coming to words and phrases that help with meaning of the words I am working on, and think aloud how context clues work. Here is an example:
“As she ran her fingers along the grooves and ridges of the Korean characters, she pictured her grandmother’s smile.” This sentences helps visualize what the word fingered means. “But her face still felt red” to help students get a picture of what blush means.
I mentioned that I will discuss context clues and what they mean when I come to them. One example of this is the word kimchi the text tells students that it is a Korean-style spicy pickled cabbage. I will explain to the students that this is an example of how an author would use a definition to tell the meaning of some words.
After the first read, students will both draw and write. I want them to use the response skills strand to tell me something about the story using the words so, students will draw a picture of what the word means and then they will create a sentence with the word. The sentence has to tell something from the story.
Before the second read of the book, I will write the words fingered and pronounced on the whiteboard or chart paper and have them focus on the inflectional ending –ed. We will then talk about how the ending changes the meaning of those words and at the end of that read students will complete a graphic organizer that has them working with the words at a deeper level. They will have to list a synonym, an antonym, an example and a non-example for each word.
Before the third read I will allow students to discuss what they know about each word. This is the last time we will focus on vocabulary for this book. My focus will tune to the theme. The fun of step six will involve several words students have learned over the semester with games like charades.
Vocabulary instruction, when intentional, explicit, and well planned is a good way to build students word knowledge. Knowing the meaning of words helps with comprehension. The evidence of vocabulary acquisition is having students use new words in reading, writing and speaking. As educators, we can help children learn new words if we plan opportunities for them to be exposed to new words. I have discussed one way that can be done. There are lots of other ways for vocabulary instruction to happen. We need to remember that research says that students need multiple, meaningful exposures to the words you want them to learn. We can affect this through conversations, read-alouds, or videos. The idea is that we do it and often.
Thank you for reading
As a classroom teacher, I noticed that although my students were improving academically there was one area where even my highest achieving students were struggling; that area was vocabulary. My students were not scoring well. When I noticed that, knew there was something that I needed to do. That is when I began to research ways to improve my student’s vocabulary scores which meant that I needed to improve the way that I taught vocabulary. That is when I realized that I wasn’t really teaching it at all. I started to be more intentional when planning vocabulary instruction and focused on it every day as a routine. The scores improved, a little and students even retained and transferred the meaning of some of the words they learned. They still were not using the words in their own writing and speaking but that was another goal.
I found that reading aloud books — books that caught my attention, mostly narratives— gave me a way to introduce words to the students that they otherwise would never hear. “Read-aloud expose children to a multitude of new words.” (McKenzie, 2014) I would talk about the words before I read the book and sometimes while I was reading. I did this, it worked the students loved it and would want to read the books that I had read to them again and again, and again.
When I became an instructional specialist I remembered how my students loved to hear me read and found that using the read-aloud was a good way to teach a mini lesson to any child. That was when I decided to research how many different skills I could teach using it. I realized that I was on the right track when using the read-aloud to help with vocabulary instruction and that there was a way to introduce phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, and fluency. I can take those mini lessons and extend them into an activity or a simple anchor chart to help student remember the skills induced with the story I have read to them. This idea (the read-aloud) is especially useful to teachers when they take the time to model their thinking as they read the text. I used a good read-aloud as a mentor text to model the teaching ideas I used as a classroom teacher.
I am now a literacy coach at Region 10 Education Service Center. I work with more teachers in various school districts. Not only do I recommend the read-aloud to my teachers as a good way to increase student’s exposure to rich and robust tier 2 words, I also recommend other ways and times in the school day that teachers can sneak in extra exposures to those words. I recommend activities like: the word of the day, rubrics and check list to gauge the students “word consciousness”, vocabulary notebooks for students to see the relationships words have with content area literacy, and even inserting a quick vocabulary lesson during your guided reading (small group instruction).
I am a doctoral candidate and for the purposes of my research topic I am going back to my first love, vocabulary instruction. “Vocabulary development is one of the top areas of focus for a child to learn to read and a central goal for primary grade students.” (McKenzie, 2014) I am now researching ways to implement explicit vocabulary instruction with the use of the read-aloud as a tool along with graphic organizer, anchor charts, and other ways to help students develop knowledge of words. “Vocabulary development is dependent on vocabulary knowledge.” (McKenzie, 2014) I believe that this will build word consciousness in students and that students will learn to read, write, and speak the vocabulary words they have learned.
Thank you for reading.
McKenzie, Ellen. "Vocabulary Development Using Visual Displays: Visual Displays Can support Vocabulary Development in Unique and Creative Ways.” Dimension of Early Childhood Vol 42.No 2 (2014): 12-17. Print.
Here is my synopsis of the article: Fisher, Douglas et al. "Interactive Read-Alouds: Is There a Common Set Of Implementation Practices?” The Reading Teacher 58.1 (2004): 8-17. Web.
The article was written about a study done on 25 expert teachers doing read-alouds with their students. The article showed seven things expert teachers consistently did when reading aloud to students. Today I want to write about those seven things expert teachers did to implement their read-alouds to students. The expert teachers chose books that were appropriate. They made sure the purpose for reading was clearly stated. These teachers were animated and expressive when reading. They stopped to ask questions. They were also able to make connections for independent reading and writing. Here are each of the components explained.
The books selected for the read-aloud were purposefully chosen. The expert teachers took student interest, age appropriateness, and content into account when selections were made. They made sure to include books with rich vocabulary to further the impact of these read-alouds.
Preview and Practice:
The expert teacher read through the books they selected. While reading they practiced stopping points to model fluent reading for making stopping for questions a natural transition during reading. They were able to also stop to discuss difficult vocabulary that might otherwise mess up the flow of the story because students stop comprehending when they don't know or are unsure of the meaning of the word or words. These teachers also stopped to let students write those words in a vocabulary journal. The expert teachers knew when, where, and how to add animation and expression because of this pre-reading.
Clear Purpose Established:
Beginning with the book's introduction, the expert teachers clearly stated and restated their purpose for reading the selected book. It was very clear what the purpose for reading would be. The expert teachers used some of their planned stopping points to restate the purpose. These teachers also had anchor charts, word walls, or areas in their room that had evidence of the skill being previously taught and made sure to help the student focus on the purpose by referring to the charts or areas as well.
Fluent Reading Modeled:
It was very evident that the teachers had followed step two (read the book beforehand) because they were able to fluently read the books to the students. Things like, mispronunciations were taken care of by this pre-reading. The flow of the story is flawless with practice and students get the full benefit of the read-aloud when the educator is prepared. Students also learned what fluent reading looked and sounded like.
Animation and Expression:
Each of the other components of effective interactive read-alouds need to be present for this component to have maximum effect. It is hard to measure animation and expression but when a teacher is prepared--by having pre-read the book--he or she knows when and what types of animations and expressions will bring home the purpose. You can show expression and animation during reading, like lowering or raising your voice with the correct intonation this helps to keep students engaged with the text being read aloud.
Discussing the Text:
This is a strategy to be completed before, during, and after the read-aloud to help students interact with the text. The article states that the expert teachers used a balance of efferent and aesthetic questions - efferent meaning, about details from the text and aesthetic meaning, making the text connect to the students' lives. Modeling good questions before, during, and after a read-aloud is a good way to show students how to ask themselves questions when they read. As teachers prepare for the read-aloud getting a good balance of these questions is a good way to reinforce the skill of questioning.
Independent Reading and Writing:
The expert teachers where able to connect what they had read to the students independent reading and writing time. They used ideas like, providing time for student to write in their journal about their favorite parts of the story, or creating an alternate ending to the story they heard. Students were also able to revisit vocabulary words and ideas that were written down during the reading. Some students were given independent reading time to read books that had the same or similar topics or themes. Some other students were also given the option to research other ideas related to the topic or purpose the expert teacher gave for the read-aloud.
To ensure that each of these components are effectively completed the article mentions that the expert teacher did things like place post-it notes with key questions, vocabulary words or ideas in the book where a reminder was needed.
The article ended with some questions for further research that kind of caught my attention as something to explore further. The questions were:
Thank you for reading. Feel free to leave me a comment.
I continue reading about skills and strategies educators can model while conducting a read-aloud. In my opinion, the read-aloud is something that needs to be revisited as a tool that can be used as a part of the gradual release model to help students see an exemplar of the skill you are teaching. There are so many ways that the read-aloud can be used to model lessons for children in a safe and engaging way. This time I will focus on interactive read-aloud with non-fiction text. More specifically, the think-aloud a teacher can do while conducted a read-aloud. The think-aloud used during modeling is a good way to help students learn how to think about their thinking (meta-cognition) when they are reading informational and narrative texts. For the purpose of this blog, I will focus on the informational text.
I read an article written by Erin L. McClure and Susan King Fullerton titled: "Instructional Interactions: Supporting Students' Reading Development Through Interactive Read-Aloud of Informational Texts. In this article I saw a pattern of what good teachers do consistently when conducting a read-aloud and how they are able to model their thinking and thus are able to teach their students how to think for themselves when reading an informational text. To paraphrase the authors, "the goals of an interactive read-aloud is to expose students to a variety of text, model fluent reading and meaning making strategies, encourage communication to facilitate understanding, lift the level of student thinking, and demonstrate behaviors students will be able to use independently in texts." In my reading I am finding that the interactive read-aloud is a good tool to use with students of varied age levels to model the thinking process of good readers in a safe way.
As I have stated before, when wanting to conduct a read-aloud there are some things to take into consideration for those read-aloud to have the maximum benefit for the students. You would want to...
During your read-aloud, you will model your thinking, focus on key ideas and vocabulary you want to highlight, and stop periodically for student to have the opportunity to interact with the text. (consider these stopping points when you are planning) It’s important to establish routines and have a structure to make your classroom a place where students feel comfortable enough to engage with the text, share their thoughts, and participate in conversations about the text. Your goal is to begin to allow your students to engage in whole group conversations about informational texts. Rosenblatt (2013) said: "textual interpretation is socially situated as readers transact with the text by relying on their unique experiences, which mediates the construction of meaning." Basically, each student can learn and share information when they spent time sharing (interacting) with the text. Students are developing their understanding by listening to you conduct a think-aloud, their classmate's thought and sharing their own.
The idea of the read-aloud/think-aloud is that you as the educator have the opportunity to co-construct meaning with your students by using the gradual release of responsibility. (model, shared practice, practice with a partner or small group, and sharing with the whole group and working independently) The read-aloud is a good scaffold for creating a safe place for students to apply their thoughts about the texts they are reading. Using the read-aloud is an aid to cultivate students independent reading.
Thanks for reading...
McClure, Erin L., and Susan King Fullerton. "Instructional Interactions: Supporting
Students’ Reading Development Through Interactive Read-Alouds of
Informational Texts". The Reading Teacher (2017): n. page. Web.
This week’s blog is a revisit of a post I made in 2016. I read: Reading Literature in Elementary Classrooms by Kathy Short. Kathy argues that it is possible to create practices of literary reading that support children's interests in reading processes, enjoyment in personal reading, and engagement in critical inquiry about the representations and themes literature presents." I do agree with her but it will take a lot of work to make this wide stream knowledge,
I remember reading in school as having two parts; reading for a grade and reading for fun and both of those did not happen at the same time for me. I enjoyed reading (still do) but still managed to get into trouble in the 5th grade for daydreaming while watching a bird in a tree outside of the window. Short suggests ways of bringing all aspects of reading together to engage the whole child. I do believe that would have helped me cut down some of my lack of focus. As I reflect on this post and think about my work with teachers. As a classroom teacher, I would complete a read aloud with my students, reinforce a reading skill and put the book out for them to enjoy on their own. Often times most of the students could only enjoy the pictures which is fine but not as effective as it could have been. I read of one teacher who took his read alouds, made shared readings out of them and taught spelling patterns with the books before releasing them for his students to enjoy. I like the idea, it's rigorous, it's engaging, and a fun way to step away from the Basel driven normal classroom structure. This idea also increases reading volume and Richard Allington states that is a contributing factor to improved reading in students. Not only could a teacher take literature (fiction or non-fiction) and make it a shared reading, educators can conduct repeated reading of the same text and target a new or routine skill. This would allow students to enjoy a story that is familiar and at the same time, the teacher can think aloud to show his or her students how to think their way through a comprehension skill. Our newly revised Texas State Standards (TEKS) are designed in a way that really makes it easy to design instruction this way.
My reading also lead me to find out more about having students read and respond to literature as well as ask and answer questions of each other both orally and in written form. This gives students the opportunity to experience reading in various different ways. Quoting Kathy Short again: Reading and responding to literature as problem-posing as well as problem solving, provides a critical frame through which multiple voices and perspectives can contribute to inquiry about one’s self and the world." (Short page 50) When considering children and their reading backpacks (the skills they come to us with) some students, especially those who come from poorer backgrounds with limited experiences, we have to know that they may have oral language related to situations that they deal with daily, like family letters, games on cell phones, bills and bill collector conversations as well as environmental print which is as good of a place to start as any. Student’s responses to literature may begin with picture representations but again they are able to respond to reading and share their thoughts with others. The idea is that we find places in the curriculum that invite children to make meaning of the texts we read to them and text they read for themselves. We want students to engage with the literature we expose them to, make connections with that literature, and to think about it, speak about it, and write about it. .
Reading Literature in the Elementary Classrooms is an article in the Handbook of Research on Children's and Young Adult Literature written by Kathy Short.
Thank you for reading,
As a literacy coach, I work with elementary teachers to enhance their literacy instruction. My goal is to build their self-efficacy, help them effectively teach children to think, read, write, listen, and speak, and improve these teacher’s classroom practice by equipping them with tools and resources they can use as needed. I do this both with one to one coaching and professional development of the whole group. I am fortunate to have a group of excellent educators in my cohort, so my job is always an awesome experience. I am blessed to see these teachers in action. It is inspiring to see the impact these teachers have on the future of our children. As I observe their classroom instruction, I look for ways to add what I have learned from reading research, observing other educators, my personal experience, and from conversations with colleagues to their everyday practice.
One of the biggest ideas (debates) in the reading research world is centered around reading comprehension and how best to teach it. Leading researchers are at odds. The debate is between whole language and phonics instruction. My stance is that children need both language comprehension and word recognition skills to become skilled readers. To me that means to be effective to teach children to read classroom instruction needs to have a healthy balance of systematic phonics instruction, for word recognition skills and vocabulary instruction for language comprehension. I also believe this needs to be done in authentic ways. According to A recent systematic review published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest explains why both methods are important: Phonics, for early readers and for learning to write, as well as whole language instruction, to help children understand complex meanings.
Fortunately, I believe that we can agree that reading comprehension is about making meaning as one reads texts, but just how to get this taught is where the differences come in. Those differences trickled down to the curriculum resources, and supplemental material that classroom teachers use to aid in their instruction. In my work, I do not suggest any changes to the curriculum resources that my teachers have access to as per their schools and school districts, that is not my locus of control, however, my feedback for teachers follows the lines of research and good teacher best practice. I most often give recommendations to help my teacher’s guided reading time and during their whole group instruction.
I have often suggested that teachers choose a good mentor text. I have been trained by professionals who were a part of the Reading First Movement. As a result of that training my love for the use of the read-aloud as a mentor text was revived. As a classroom teacher I used the read-aloud because it is widely accepted as a means of developing vocabulary (Newton, Padak, & Rasinski, 2008). I have since learned that a good read aloud can be used as a mentor text that teachers can use to show students a strong model of how a skill they are learning is supposed to work. A good mentor text can be a supplement to a curriculum that may be lacking or can be an added benefit to your classroom instruction. Feedback to my teachers has included ideas that help them get started. Here are a couple of resources I have found. Mentor Text for Grades k-5 and Teaching with Mentor Texts . Mentor text serves as an important role in instruction, which needs to have a thoughtful and intentional selection process. A mentor text might be a poem, a newspaper article, song lyrics, comic strips, manuals, essays, almost anything (Baker, 2013).
Another of my recommendations centers around guided reading. Again, I don’t propose any one model or structure of guided reading, but I do believe that guided reading has some basic practices that make it meaningful. Readwritethink.org says guided reading gives teachers the opportunity to observe students as they read from texts at their instructional reading levels. Guided reading is subject to many interpretations, but Burkins & Croft (2010) identify these common elements:
Thank you for reading...
I have reached a milestone in my career and in my life. I have finished all my coursework and have taken and passed my comprehensive exams. “So, now what?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I am now a doctoral candidate, which means I have entered into the phase where I get to hone my skills as a researcher and a writer. I am working on my actual dissertation. “How long does that take?” Thanks, that’s another good question. That depends, to some extent on the college and to a larger extent me, myself, and I.
There are 5 chapters in a dissertation — depending on which college you go to. I will have to work on chapters one – three which introduce my topic, layout the research around my topic and state the methods I want to use to conduct research. I have to propose those to my committee (which I have not chosen yet) before I can do my study- another milestone. Then, I conduct my study and write chapters four and five which discuss the findings and conclusions. This is the final milestone. At this point I defend all 5 chapters and that same committee will tell me it is finished or it needs more work.
This whole process so far has been exhausting, exciting, excruciating, and engaging allllll at the same time. I have learned and am learning so much about myself. I am a self-diagnosed introvert and peopling is a task that at times is very daunting. In previous blog posts I have already stated how far out of my comfort zone I am in my new role as a Literacy Coach. I meet and hold conversations with new people almost every day. It is interesting how so many things in my life just work together.
I am learning to work independently and interdependently. It is a balancing act to say the least. I am fortunate to have a lot of highly skilled, super intelligent people around me at Region 10 Education Service Center. I will admit I don’t always think about and reach out to my “work village”. I am working on that and will do a much better job in the future. I have had an “if you ask for help, they may think you can’t do the job” mentality without even realizing it. Now, I am not saying that I need help, but what I am saying is that I have such a valuable resource in my “work village” that I forget to work with them because I am in autopilot. I have learned that I need to “people with a purpose” (that’s my term, but you can use it).
I have to mention my study group, which is another awesome group of super intellect women who have taught me a lot about myself. If it were not for them, I may not have done any prep for comps at all (and I truly mean that). These women encouraged me, shared their knowledge with me and prayed with me and for me as we prepared for this phase of our studies. I learned that a group that gets together for one cause can be powerful. We have created a new life long bond. They have also helped me learn that peopling is okay.
I have not updated this blog for a few months because so much has been going on. Now that I am back and am in a new phase of this journey, I think it’s time to change my focus. Since I am in the writing phase of my studies and I originally started this blog to write. This will be the last blog post that is titled #doctoralpursuit. Starting in November, I will focus on all things literacy. My new blog will be titled Literacy Pearls. It is my intent to share information that I gain from all the literacy research I will be reading for the next year.
Thank you for reading,
We are at the end of July. The summer is almost over. It has been a whirlwind of excitement, learning, and work. I have been totally out of my comfort zone and have loved every bit of it. As I transition into preparing for the 2019-2020 school year, I consider this a good time to stop and reflect on the pursuit so far.
I have finished my coursework, made it through with only one B, and have met with my advisor to set a plan for Comprehensive Exam preparations. I have made steps towards forming a study group and soon we will met to study. I have been on my new job for 3 months. These months have been a review and crash course in all things literacy kindergarten through 5th grade.
In the past 3 months, I have been able to meld the old job and my experience from that with the new job in the places that fit and have learned new skills that will take me even further. I am learning to work with a team and not in isolation, and at the same time I am responsible for my own group of teachers. There are places where my experiences and studies have been a real benefit and there are places that I have had to take a step back and learn something new.
My summer has been busy with my studies for work and for school and with preparations for facilitating the training of the teachers in my cohort and other teachers that are a part of the READ Grant Reading Academies. Here is what I have learned this summer.
Thank you for reading...
I am typing this as I look out of my hotel room window. The electricity went out in my apartment building, the funny thing about that is that it is out in my building only and not the whole complex. Anyway, I decided to update you today.
I am nearing the end of the first phase of the process of my doctoral pursuit and I must say that this last stretch has been extremely challenging. I started a new and exciting position. It is wonderful, and challenging, and exciting all at the same time. I have stepped into new territory and am totally out of my comfort zone. I have been introduced to business travel, expense reports and mileage reports along with having to get used to having an administrative assistant to do them for me (everyone should have a Kelly). I can truly say that I love my job and all of the exposure that it brings me. This year (the 15 months of this grant) will definitely be shaping me and getting me ready for the next phase in my life.
I am also taking my last two doc courses this semester (a feat in itself). I go from work (leaving home at 6:30 am) to school every week day (getting home around 9:00 pm) except Friday (on the past two Fridays I attended a study group with my project partners so it may as well have been Monday-Friday). I can say that I have found my groove and have been able to balance everything and have turned in all assignments (except one) on time. I had to miss class one week to travel for work so, last week my life kind of did an overlap. It has been tough overall, but I see the light.
I have entered my 49th year of life and I see it — in the hot flashes and the 10 pounds I have gained — and the fuzzy memory. I know that these side effects are a combination of me being more sedentary in my new job, slower metabolism, and eating more combined with just being exhausted. I am monitoring and adjusting to prepare for my next phase mentally, physically, and spiritually.
I called this blog Cultivating Pearls because of what I know about the process of making Pearls. According to https://willhaniganpearls.com/blogs/news/pearl-cultivation Natural Pearls form when an irritant works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam until a lustrous pearl is formed. I believe that everything, and I do mean everything that has happened and is going to happen (the irritants and growing pains) in the next year to 18 months is a will be making me the leader that I am called to be.
I am still toying with what will be the future topic of this blog and when I will transition to that new topic. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for reading.
Pearl Garden, Ed.D has completed her dissertation research involving understanding the vocabulary instruction practices of early grade teachers. She has a passion for the new and novice educator, and it is her goal to help educators tackle the achievement gap with her research findings. She will use this blog to share what she has learned in “pearls of literacy”. The ideas come from her dissertation titled “A Content Analysis of the Vocabulary Instruction Habits by Early Grade Teachers”.