A few years ago, I started my CI journey by incorporating readers into a curriculum that was pretty rough around the edges. Nothing flowed, and I was still a new teacher trying to find my groove and make everything fit. I had never been formally taught how to utilize these resources in my methodology classes, and because I’d been used to a textbook-based curriculum, I was holding the Teacher’s Guides like a security blanket. I was learning how to use CI, and I was just hoping that my students were learning something, too!
The Teacher’s Guides for all of the Fluency Matters Comprehension-based™ readers are so well put together, and they contain a wide array of activities (or interactivities as Carol Gaab likes to call them!), assessments and projects. I really couldn’t go wrong by utilizing every page, but being the over enthusiastic person that I am, I was also Googling anything and everything under the sun to help me prepare for class. I met Carrie Toth at a regional conference, and her blog became a God-send. Her blog led me to Kristy Placido’s blog, Kristy’s led me to CI Peek, CI Peek led me to other bloggers, and by now, I’m sure you understand the depth of my research. I became active on Twitter desperately seeking more ideas that I could use in my classroom. I found all the Facebook groups I could to try to find out how I could teach something better. Conference sessions? I went to them all, took notes like a mad woman and eagerly brought them back to share what I had learned with my co-workers.
I was utilizing so many other people’s ideas, that I was sure that I wasn’t coming up with any of my own. But you see, here’s the thing: I was adapting what I had found to fit my students, so I was, in essence, coming up with new ways to use what was already out there. Instead of just being a lurker on Twitter or on Facebook group pages, I started commenting on what other people were doing and how I approached different topics. I tweeted out various activities that had gone well in my classroom. That turned into talking about readers with complete strangers at conferences and how they completely changed the way I teach and how my students learn. I really just wanted everyone to feel as successful as I had!
I am by nature an introvert, and I’m very self-conscious about what I share. We all just want to be liked and accepted. Am I right? The feeling that I don’t have it all together is still ever present, but I think I’m working up to sharing more of my classroom with others. I want to record myself and allow people to give me pointers on how I can be better. That’s a huge step, and I’m sure I’ll get there soon!
Please don’t think that I’m saying to go out today and record yourself for the world to see! Take baby steps! Comment on a Facebook thread in the Fluency Matters group. Openly share the good news of something that went well when you started working with readers. Tweet out new things you’re trying. We all have something to offer this wonderful profession. I spent many years thinking that I had nothing to offer to other teachers, thinking that my ideas weren’t as great as others. To think of what would happen if everyone had this thought! This year, I’ve taken an entirely different approach. I’m sharing more at my school and posting more online because at the end of the day, it’s really fun to be able to share with other teachers! It’s scary at first, but so rewarding! With all of that said, take heart and know that you, yes you, have something to offer to us, your colleagues.
If you’re interested in sharing what YOU have, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may be able to earn $50 credit in Fluency Matters materials, just like Melisa Lopez!