- "How do you get everyone to participate?"
- Honest response: because you're here watching them and they want to look good.
- What I actually said: Having a Workshop Accountability grade once per quarter that is 25% of their grade in the class really motivates some of my otherwise reluctant learners. Also, I try to keep the level of urgency high so students have to engage quickly because we'll be moving on to something else in not much time.
- "Is this class an exception, or are all your classes this well-behaved and on task?"
- Honest response: you think this is well-behaved? I can see three side conversations happening right now and I've had to remind them to bring their volume level down at least 6 times already. This is not well-behaved. I'd show you well-behaved but I don't want to yell at my class in front of you.
- What I actually said: This is a really great group of students. It helps that about half of them had workshop last year as well so they have a bit more stamina than some of the other 7th graders I see in my day. I'm hoping that as we continue to use Workshop throughout the district that stamina in reading and writing will only improve as well as the student's knowledge of and comfort with workshop expectations.
- "Your presentations really add to the comfortable feeling of the class - it's a cozy feeling!"
- Honest response: I spend more time in my classroom then I do anywhere else so of course I'm trying to make this be a room I don't mind spending time in. Oh, and I guess the students like ti too. They won't let me put up lights or any kind of "fire hazard" decorations, so I'm doing the best with what I can't get in trouble for.
- What I actually said: Google slides has come a long way and I'm so happy there is a way to adjust the transparency of images now so I can make presentations that are a bit more visually pleasing.
And then the best part - questions that I could answer! I felt like Kate Roberts as I shared my experience and philosophy around the workshop model - it was like I had all the answers. I was on a roll! I shared rubrics for Workshop Accountability and Reader's Notebook Checks and bestowed upon my willing learners the genius idea (that I stole from Kate Roberts) to check notebooks randomly throughout the quarter rather than all 100 of them at one time.
Add to this one of my co-worker's remarks that my level of workshop implementation is giving him "a complex" because he feels like he can't let me show him up and recognition from my peers for my work in setting up PBIS for our school this year and I'm feeling pretty good about myself professionally. It's all coming up Katie.
While this all feels really good, I can't help but wonder, how did I get here? Three years ago I had never taught Language Arts and now people are getting advice from me? I'd love to take credit and say I'm an amazing teacher, but anyone in education will tell you that teaching is really just stealing what someone else did that worked really well and I've been collecting ideas religiously for the last three years, including as much information as I could take pictures of and type in notes from the Institutes for Reading and Writing put on by New York's Teacher's College. I'm just a cog in the wheel of the workshop machine.