Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Day One… The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project 16th Annual July Institute on the Teaching of Reading: Teach Me in the Key of Life July 6, 2009

Whew! What a great day! I am now sitting in my very dorm-y dorm room. Two major differences from when I was last living in an dorm room: A-it’s much nicer with AC and my own bathroom (although the mattress had me wishing for a hotel last night), and B-I’m drinking a beer while doing my homework (or avoiding it I guess by typing this).  

This is the largest TC Institute with people from 24 countries including Sweden, China (Shanghai, specifically), Iceland, India, and Kuwait; 38 states; and includes 90 principals, 6 superintendents and a total of 1374 participants! Wow! 

The day started with a Keynote by Maurice Sykes (Executive Director of Early Childhood Leadership Institute titled “The Courage to Teach the Joy of Teaching”. He was a FANTASTIC speaker and started with a poem by Mimi Chenfeld (from Columbus, OH!)

Teach Me in the Key of Life
by Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld

I am waiting for you
I have been waiting all my life
to spend this time
with you.

I am full of questions, adventures, wonder, curiousity,
imagination.
I am full of fears, doubts, confusions, nightmares, dreams.
I am the Cowardly Lion. I need a badge for courage.
So do you.
I am the Tin Man. So tight. I forgot about my heart.
How’s your heart?
I am the Scarecrow. Hangin’ so loose my brain feels unhinged.
Does yours?
Sometimes I’m
GrumpySleepyDopeyBashfulDocSneezyHappy.
Sometimes I’m seven new dwarfs as yet unnamed.

I love to sing.
I know the words to 2,437 songs.
Teach me through songs.
Let me paint, doodle, scribble, draw, carve, fix, sketch – DO.
I can’t keep still.
I’m a spaced-out, far-out, Star Wars, Superman IV, rock ‘n’ roll, disco,
punk, psychedelic, tuned-out, right-on, cool age, 
electronic, stereo, video games, computerized, technicolor, ten-speed kid!
I need action!
Keep it moving!

I love to read baseball cards, album covers, TV schedules, movie ads,
license plates, T-shirts, buttons, posters, cartoons, cereal boxes,
recipes, highway signs, historical markers, magazines, picture books, 
sad stories, weird poems, animal histories, lost-and-found boards…

Let me ask my questions – even if you don’t know the answers.
Dumb questions, like who started numbers?
Do caterpillars know they’re going to turn into butterflies?
Where does the white go when the snow melts?
Why does time fly?
How do we see?
What do you see?

It’s not my birthday, but every day can’t we celebrate SOMETHING?
Colors, seasons, Tuesdays, Mexico, circles, houses, maps, our names, numbers, one seed, our journals, favorite books, inventions, rivers, peace!
Can we celebrate our country on the fourth of October or the twelfth of May?
We don’t have school on the fourth of July!
Every day let’s celebrate SOMETHING!
Life – the wonder and power and miracle of Life – of being here, learning together, with all our fantastic powers.

Surprise me.
Amaze me.
Startle me.
Challenge me.
Try me.
Laugh with me.
Love me.
Teach me
in “the key of life,”
and I promise I’ll
surprise, amaze, startle, challenge, try, enjoy and love YOU!

 

 

 

Is it possible for the day to get any better than that? It did-next up was a large group session for Grade 3-5 teachers, principals and school leaders. Lucy Calkins walks on water for me-need I say more-I know there are at LEAST 1300 other people who agree with me (and that is probably a low count just for this 10 block radius!).

I skipped lunch to attend a session by Joe Yukish entitled “Looking Closely at Levels A-G”. I will post more about this separately, but I think it’s the most clear view of early levels I’ve ever heard.

We then had a small group session (about 22 people) with Tifany Davis Nealy that was also fabulous (even the assigning homework part! My husband says I’m the only one who could ever get excited about receiving homework-I don’t think he is right). I will also post separately about what we learned in small group session.

The closing session was “Creating a Richly Literate Culture in a Classroom and a School: Ten Transformational Ideas” by Mary Enrenworth, Deputy Director for Middle Schools of the TC project. 

There was then a welcome reception for out-of-towners in an outdoor courtyard. Who did I get to sit next to and talk to?  You probably won’t be too surprised when I say, Lucy Calkins of course, but I did not stalk her! She was at a table by herself and everyone was too intimidated to sit down at her table of 10. Well, that wasn’t going to stop me! Her table’s theme was How Can a School or Person Connect to the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Especially if You’re Outside of NYC? The second or third person who sat down was someone Lucy greeted by name with a question-The woman was so flustered she got red and had to compose herself for a second-why? Because she also recognizes the greatness of Lucy and getting to have a conversation with her in person. It’s good to recognize yourself in someone else-it makes us all feel more connected.

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6 Responses to “Day One… The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project 16th Annual July Institute on the Teaching of Reading: Teach Me in the Key of Life”

  1. CT Says:

    I am at the Institute too- I love following your blog and have followed for quite a while now. Are you going to post about the closing session you went to yesterday? I’d love to see what her 10 points were. I went to one on reading partnerships that I’d be happy to share with you, however it was for k-2, so not sure how relevant it would be for you.

    C

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      I would be happy to meet and share! I’m here being brave on my own. I would also love to see the K-2 curricular map since I work with K-12! I’ll e-mail you.

  2. stella Says:

    You are lucky beyond measures. Enjoy every minute of this opportunity!!

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      Thanks Stella! I do feel so fortunate and keep pinching myself to make sure I’m really here and not dreaming. It’s been great to be a learner this week!

  3. Jenifer Says:

    I attended this institute as well and my head is spinning with all the wonderful stuff I learned. I can’t wait for school to start!

    Now I wish I had gone to the out of town reception!

  4. Megan Says:

    Hi there,
    I am reading through your notes on the Reading Institute. As much as I loved the Writing Institute, the RI just has my heart. I feel about Mary Ehrenworth the way you do about Lucy. Can you share her 10 points from her speech?

    Thanks!


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