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I'm a teacher educator who believes that modeling a blend of theories, methods, and strategies creates a balance in the classroom that gives prospective teachers a foundation on which to build their own teaching pedagogies.
The mantras that I live by and share with literacy teacher candidates include, but are not limited to:
- beginning with the end in mind
- learning a child's strengths
- reading aloud
- thinking aloud
- filling up every student's confidence tank.
As teachers, we need to look for response over answers, give students authorship of their writing, and ownership of their learning. We need to give students voice and the opportunity to acquire new skills through gradual release models, designing instruction, collaborating with peers, and incorporating digital literacies along with multi-modalities.
We need to hold our thinking, level playing fields, use games in learning, provide lifelines, do what good readers do: read widely; read deeply; read lightly; know that there are no "hard" words, only words that give us pause; write for a million reasons; and give rich meaningful feedback. Build a community of learners.
We also must be effective, metacognitive, flexible, reflective, and, most importantly, kind.