“It’s how we choose to use the time we have that makes the biggest difference in our students’ growth as writers.” Carl Anderson
This afternoon I had the priviledge of co-facilitating a workshop that includes many elementary teachers across our district. The focus of our workshop was “Purposeful Sharing: Bringing life and purpose to the share session!”. This group has been together for two now and we meet monthly to deepen our understanding of Writer’s Workshop and then we share what we’ve learrned with other teachers in our schools. Today, we were able to share many ideas from Leah Mermelstein’s book Don’t Forget to Share. A colleague of mine coined the term MVR for “Most Valuable Resource” and that’s exactly what I consider this book to be!
We began the workshop by giving the teachers 4 statements about the share session and asked them to reflect on their current practices. Things such as, “I provide relevant feedback during my share sessions” and “My students are actively involved during our share sessions”, etc. Next, I read a section from the book where Mermelstein is very candid about the way her own share sessions used to be. This “confession” so to speak, created an instant connection between her and the teachers in the workshop. We’ve all, some more than others, had the same experience with our own share session.
Our goal for the workshop was to show teachers how to bring life back in to their share session by including different types of shares and teach them how both the teacher AND the students have important roles. We introduced the content share, the process share, the craft share and the progress share. We explained the roles of the listener and the speaker and provided “cheat sheets” that included the nuts and bolts of each type of share to use as references when they were ready to launch a new share.
The teachers in the group will now return to their buildings, spread the word about the share session, and hopefully try some of the ideas presented today. If your school is like mine, it only takes 1 or 2 teachers to try something new then others start asking about it and then voila! it’s all the rave. I am looking forward to this happening again with our shares….