Putting Kids FIRST

Confession time….I have not blogged in a few weeks because I was hit with a case of overloaded brain block!  Yes, it’s a real thing my friends. πŸ™‚ My head is full of so much new learning that I didn’t even know where to begin processing it all.  As I start thinking of all the things I have been taking in and try to piece together connections, I come up with one thing that runs through my head over and over.

If we are not asking this question when there is a fork in the road, or even on a DAILY BASIS, we are off track!
Recently, I have observed literacy instruction in elementary school, middle school, and high school!  I feel like I have been given a treasure that not many teachers are given unfortunately – time to observe great teaching!  I am always amazed at the awesome ideas I walk away with.  The interesting thing is that at all three levels, there were identical strategies being used that worked with ALL kids, yet they did not look exactly the same! That got me thinking.
There are all these buzzwords out there.  All the new initiatives starting up.  All the ideas of how things “should be done” by people other than the educators.  But really, when we really look closely by taking a step back, we know it comes down to best practices for all kids.  We know what is best for kids and we do it.  
If you know me, you know that I am a firm believer in differentiation in every area!  Y’all, it doesn’t have to look the same for everyone.   We are not the same.  Our kids are not the same. πŸ™‚  We can differentiate our teaching strategies like we differentiate student learning. It is responsive teaching.  But PLEASE….hear this loud and clear – what matters is that we are consistent in these best practices and do what is best for the kids we have in front of us now…not last year. 
Whether you are conferencing with a student about their writing at a table, on the floor, through a Google doc or Google classroom, at a desk, through a blog response, on a beanbag, or a bouncy exercise ball…you are still conferencing about writing!  It is about the consistent best practice action and the child!  I will add, having a variety keeps it interesting for all involved. πŸ™‚
I really feel in my heart that there is no way you can go “wrong” if you are looking at the situation through the lens of what is best for the child, not just compliance of teaching a certain way because everyone will think this is awesome even though it really doesn’t seem to be working for this child.    
My hope is for people out there to stop thinking one way or approach is the “right way” and the only way teachers should be teaching reading or writing (or any other thing for that matter) and start asking, “Is this BEST for THIS CHILD right now?” because that is what it is all about.  I could really get going about my passion for the Whole Child, but I will save that for another time. πŸ™‚
Let me close by saying this: 

I am not saying break rules and do not teach what you are supposed to according to TEKS and district common instructional expectations!  
I am saying while adhering to these mandates, think differently. Ask the question: what is best for children?  Be brave and take that chance and try something new!  It might feel different and uncomfortable at first, but how will you ever know if you never try? πŸ™‚ Oh, the possibilities and the awesome things we will see in our children when we put them first! Always. 

Author: Bridget Visser

I am a passionate educator advocating for ALL Children! Love all things around Student Voice, Literacy, Technology, Innovation, Student Design, and Empowering Others in positive ways! I am a learner, energized by connecting with other educators sharing their learning!