28 Jan Slice of Life: Living “ishfully” Ever After
So “ish” is your new word, huh?
I paused, hoping she would add more information so I could understand her question.
Are you relating it to the book?
I decided I needed to let her know I had no idea what she was talking about.
What do you mean?
When you are answering teachers’ questions you are adding “ish” to your answers.
I remained quiet. I honestly had not noticed I was doing this, but once it she pointed it out I realized she was right.
- A unit of study may last 4-6 weeks-“ish.”
- Kids in kindergarten should read about a C-“ish” instructionally in January.
- Your students should be reading independently for about 20-30 minutes-“ish.”
- The lessons are not meant to be taught in this exact order day to day. You want to teach the essential concepts. It is more like a road map – scope and sequence-“ish.”
- They should be able to write 2-3- “ish” pieces in that amount of time.
- Your focus lessons should be 10-15 minutes- “ish.”
- Reader’s workshop should last 45-60 minutes –“ish.”
- You want to confer with your typical readers 1-2 times per week- “ish.”
The more I listened to myself the more I noticed my words. Why was I adding “ish” to my answers? I thought about this over the past two weeks. I noticed that my answers are typically in response to teachers sharing with me that they:
“…read in an article, book or website that you are supposed to….”
Sometimes they are even quoting Tammy and me.
I love professional learning and I believe deeply that we all need to continue to grow in our practice to understand current research and its implication on our instruction. I worry, however, that we can be too concerned with doing everything exactly as prescribed. This worry to do everything perfectly can actually immobilize us.
I think I have been saying “ish” because I want teachers to calm down and trust themselves. It is difficult to have hard and fast rules in classrooms that are dynamic. We cannot plan to predict exactly how everything is going to go every moment of every day. We need to immerse ourselves in research, best practices and the standards. We then need to use this knowledge to teach our students.
In the book, ish by Peter Reynolds, he writes:
Ramon felt light and energized. Thinking ish-ly allowed his ideas to flow freely. He began to draw what he felt – loose lines. Quickly springing out. Without worry.
Maybe this quote represents my unconscious decision to add “ish” to my answers. I want teachers to learn something, understand the essence and then create those magical instructional moments in their classrooms. We cannot teach when we are worried. We need to be cognitively and emotionally available to think, question, and respond to our students. Our ideas will not flow freely if we are trying to follow a prescription.
I hope all teachers feel light and energized when they teach. Everyday we are learning and growing. Things cannot always go as planned, but if we have an “ish” stance we can take what we learn each day and use it the next.
Ramon, in the story ish, “lives ishfully ever after”– seems to me that is a great goal to have!