19 Mar Slice of Life: Teachers – You Need This Book…Right Now! #SOL18
She looks in my bag and sees the book.
Oh, great. My copy hasn’t arrived yet. Thanks for bringing it.
There are moments in life not to share.
There are moments in life when even twenty-four years of partnership doesn’t cut it.
Oh no. You can’t have that book.
Are you kidding?
Never more serious.
She looks at me in disbelief.
I try again.
Remember when Wayne told us that some things are just good for your soul – you know- professionally important AND good for your soul? This book is just that. It is smart. It is funny. It is practical. It is timely. It is good for my soul.
So … I can’t have it?
The good news is Tammy’s copy came the next day.
Kids 1st From Day 1 by Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz is the book. If you don’t have it yet, stop reading now, go back to the beginning of this sentence, click on the title, and buy the book.
Glad you are back! Here is what we love, and we know you will LOVE about this book:
- They describe teaching as our heart work. Teaching is our heart work and it NEEDS to be our heart work. They share neurological research to support this thesis and show us how to become more growth-oriented and self-compassionate teachers. Here are some ideas they share in the book:
- Think about your schedule from a child’s-eye view – how responsive are we? (p 9).
- Think about your play personality – do you honor all forms of play to engage your learners? (p 14).
- Think more about your bias and how it impacts your classroom – have you examined and reflected upon your bias and how you can make steps toward a better world? (p 21).
- They remind us how important our classroom environment is for learning. Our students’ voices need to be in our classroom design and there is no better way to achieve this than letting them help us. From arrangement to materials, to books, to the schedule – these authors will help us reflect on our classroom space and think about how to revise it to put kids first. We love the ideas they share for letting students set up the classroom during the first few days of school (p 45) and the ideas they share to get kids up, moving and learning! The brain research on learning and movement is too compelling to ignore – once you read how they suggest making this happen, it will also be too easy to ignore.
- We cannot count the number of times teachers ask us for sample schedules. These authors make teachers’ dream come true!! They not only share detailed schedules for various grade levels they share the why behind the design and how they have adjusted schedules to reflect the physical and emotional needs of their students.
- The last section is titled Curriculum – but really it is about formative assessment and responsive teaching at its best!! We all have standards and curriculum, but they are useless if we do not think about them in relation to the students sitting in front of us. The authors provide a checklist (p 110) to help you reflect on why and how you are teaching something. They also provide frameworks to help you observe students and collect the information you need to adjust instruction. You will love the samples, unit suggestions, time-frame examples and practical tips they share about their process of developing curriculum. This chapter is one you will reference again and again.
I will stop writing now so you can start reading! Kids 1st From Day 1 by Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz has everything you would expect from these authors – funny anecdotes; reflective stories; great charts; authentic examples, and practical information. It truly is a hopeful book. A book that melds your teaching heart and teaching mind. A book that puts kids first and honors the role of the teacher. A book you must have … now!
Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year.