At NCTE in Orlando I presented to several hundred teachers with my friends, Carol Varsalona and JoAnn Scott from West Babylon Schools (Long Island), NY. Several years ago I worked with their school system to help teachers set up literacy work stations and best utilize their teaching space. In our presentation, Carol shared her perspective as a district administrator in her presentation, “Developing Active Literacy Environments.” Carol is a hands-on admninistrator and often works alongside teachers in their classrooms.
JoAnn talked about her work as a principal in “Collaborative Literacy Learning Communities.” JoAnn’s school, South Bay Elementary, was destroyed in a fire one evening last spring. Several days later, they all moved into Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church and set up school using limited resources. Her story was inspiring and reminds of us what’s really important!
My portion of the program was about literacy work stations. One point I made is that the practice students do at literacy stations must be connected to quality whole group teaching initially. The better we model and involve the students in that demonstration, the better their independent practice. Also, what we ask children to do on their own must be familiar.
I met old friends and new at NCTE, including two teachers from Iceland! Their colleagues have been teaching them about work stations, so they attended our session to learn more. It is truly a small world.