Positive thinking

I wasn’t active here for a while thanks to a series of negative emails. I thought of what we teach our kids when they face a bully. The steps start with saying, “Stop now.”  ‘Nuff said, except that I realized what happens when an environment gets toxic. Positive strokes work best. See Laurie Clarcq’s new coaching method as an example!

I would like to share a couple of Eureka moments.

Eureka #1: Another Embedded Reading idea.

Advanced students were finishing testing. I gave them links to passages I wanted to use later in a unit. I asked them to copy/paste a paragraph at a time, then read and cut out whatever they didn’t understand. Instead, one student highlighted. What a huge help! I used the resulting color-coded text as a baseline from which to start scaffolding. My kids rock.

Eureka #2, the power of being positive.

I was learning Salish with a group of Salish teachers in the Kalispel Tribe northeast of Spokane, trying not to be intimidated by greeting and using names in Salish, but it was obvious that my pronunciation left a lot to be desired. Then, after a 20-30 minute coaching session during which all we did was discuss who wanted coffee and tea, I could suddenly say several sentences in a row. The group vigorously applauded me. After that, all I wanted to do was use my limited Salish. A little bit of positive goes a long way, as does realizing you’re taking steps on the journey.

Another Eureka: the assembled teachers understood the power of meaning-based circling. Students acquire language!

10 responses to “Positive thinking

  1. Marlene Aguilar

    I love your work and use it frequently. Unfortunately, it is usually the negative people who have the most to say. Thank you for all that you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry you got negative feedback! It’s especially hard to swallow this time of year, at least for me. I appreciate your positive spin and your continual creativity. You make the magic happen! 🙂


  3. I’m happy you’re back. I love reading about your classroom! Thank you for sharing.


    • Thanks! I’m in my last two days…but maybe I’ll find a little group to practice on this summer. Good luck on the end of the year in your neighborhood.


  4. A friend told me once that true light will always be a magnet for darkness. I know that your light is strong and so will uncover the darker side of others from time to time. Don’t let that stop you from being the bright, positive, amazing individual that you are!!

    with love,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laurie, your words amaze me every time. Where did you get this loving wisdom, and may I sign up for it? Oh…I think I have…but it’s not rubbing off on me fast enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have my students highlight EVERYTHING they understand. It helps them to “see” that they understand a lot more than they think they do which increases reading confidence which leads to better reading.


    • It really does! I love that technique. Have you tried reading it slowly a couple of times while they highlight? Sometimes they realize on the second or third reading that they’ve “got” more than they realized. I also have changed up my requests for highlighting when a whole class does it together, aiming for a sense of purpose that BVP talks about – “Highlight everything that makes you think your partner would be friends with this person,” and then compare notes. Or “Which program at our school do you think this person might apply to?” and highlight the reasons. Or, since we were just doing the Masha i Medved’ version of Little Red Riding Hood, “which of her fractured fairy tale changes do you like?” and so on. Thinking of follow-up purpose changed my thinking again this year. More on that later!


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