Some of you know of an outstanding teacher named Nancie Atwell http://www.heinemann.com/authors/109.aspx. She has written many great books for educators, including IN THE MIDDLE; TRANSFORM YOUR CLASSROOM; SCHOOL, LESSONS THAT CHANGE WRITERS; and NAMING THE WORLD: A YEAR OF POEMS AND LESSONS.
In March of this year Nancie made national news when she won the inaugural Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize, with a $1 million award attached, and gave the entire $1 million to her demonstration school, the Center for Teaching and Learning, in Edgecomb, Maine.
I just read an article by Nancie that was published in the WASHINGTON POST and titled “Innovation Old-School Style.” In it she states, “When reformers discuss how to improve U.S. education, innovation is a word they use a lot, preceded by the modifier technological: innovation gets defined as devices and apps.” She goes on to say, “But as a growing body of research has begun to question whether tablets, e-readers, and assorted digital platforms are doing children more harm than good, I’d like to reclaim the term. Methods, created by teachers in a quest to develop students’ skills and understandings, are the essential innovations.”
I love the whole article but the statement that jumped out for me is this one: “Give them intriguing introductions to compelling stories and time in school to read them. Give them a community to read in, a healthy collection of books from which to choose, and conversations with a teacher who knows the collection . . . and they will grow into fluent, passionate readers.”
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Would that it were!