Writerly Wide Awakeness

Friday, September 11, 2015

     Today, I met with our fantastic 5th grade team about their mini lessons for reading workshop for next week.  We are using the new Units of Study from Lucy Calkins, and one of the sessions is about reading with a "writerly wide awakeness."  At first glance, we considered skipping it, because the language seemed a little "fluffy."  But, upon closer reading, we realized just how valuable this lesson really is.  Basically, the teaching point is about reading with the intention of writing, so that you notice things that you would otherwise not notice while reading.  If we read a book knowing that we are going to write, we will notice the details more and see things that we might otherwise skim right over.  We think about what seems important, and notice the details.  Many times our students just read, read, read and then realize "Oh yeah, I need to write something now..."  But, if we write with a "writerly wide awakeness," then the process of reading will be enhanced because of the focus for writing.

     It all comes down to our purpose, and our lens.  And, it circles back to close reading, texts and LIFE.  

     In teaching, so much of our effectiveness can be dependent on our ability to instruct with a "teacherly wide awakeness."  There are details to notice all the time.  Students who struggle, students who excel, students who are having a rough day.  We see the signs of stress, or the signs of joy, or the effects of bullying.  We wipe tears and tie shoes and embrace our kids.  And, when we are in the right frame of mind, we can see things with a "teacherly wide awakeness" and make the decisions that are important because we saw the details.  

     Today, I was driving home after a great week, thinking about my gratitude for many things.  I was thinking about an email I need to send to our teachers, with the intent of sharing some things but also celebrating their efforts this week.  I had so much gratitude on my mind: for Friday, for a great staff, for first responders on this anniversary of 9-11.  Through the clouds, I suddenly saw a rainbow.  I really love rainbows, and on this rainy day this brought a huge smile to my face.  Almost immediately after I noticed the rainbow, I noticed a fire truck and ambulance driving beneath it with their sirens blaring.  I thought of it as a tribute to those first responders who lost their lives.  Not five minutes later, I saw a second rainbow, and this time a plane flew through it.  There I was, sitting in my car, with a "life wide awakeness" that filled my heart with gratitude.  

     Reading workshop (and our school subjects in general) can be filled with many lessons, and if those lessons are taught without purpose and reflection, skills might transfer but deep learning might not occur.  But, if we open our minds to seeing the purpose for the lessons, and the value they have, we might see things in a new way.  We might achieve a "wide awakeness" that helps us see what could be important.  We might notice things that we might have otherwise missed.  And, in those details, the greatest lessons might be learned.  

     So, thank you, +Tyler Haar+Jean O'Neil , +Katherine Whisler and +Katie Wallace.  Your conversation today helped me see things in a whole new way.    And, especially on this anniversary of 9-11, thank you to those who lost your lives that September day.   Your light is still shining on us, and for that we are very grateful.  I was wide awake to your presence today.


1 comment:

  1. lovely post Leah, love the awareness you had on your drive home and how you seamlessly transferred it to the work we do with kiddos. We really have the best job ever (I mean teaching - it's so so awesome!)