Teaching with Urgency Part One

When I suggest that we need to “ teach with a sense of urgency” I’m not talking about teaching prompted by anxiety but rather about making every moment in the classroom count, about ensuring that our instruction engages students and moves them ahead…”(Routman, 2003, p. 41).


This quote makes me look back on my preliminary observations during the September experience this past fall. What Routman is shedding light on is the importance of making every minute of every school day matter. Routman talks of the idea that the stressed and tense teacher will produce students who are also stressed and tense. If this is the case, fluidly transitioning from lesson to lesson becomes a challenge. This reflects in her own teaching style, “ I am relaxed and happy when I am working with my students.”

The connections I am making between my own student-teacher observations and reading Routman are those of the urgency we must have in teaching is imperative, and that urgency is not the same as rushed or stressed. Sometimes I observe teachers feeling the pressure to complete a lesson to start another lesson on time. Sometimes it seems difficult to use the available time given per lesson , more specifically reading, and making that optimal learning time.

When this happens, I think, some teachers have a tendency to fill the time lost or try to make that up by adding a filler activity to the lesson. The outcome being a lesson that could have been an engaging, and achieve optimal student learning, turns into a haphazard cloud of what could have been.

I have been lucky enough to observe in my cooperating teacher is the way she uses every minute of the school day. When a lesson cuts into another lesson time she makes the best of it. By that I mean, she is quick to incorporate reading or writing into the two lessons. By integrating the reading and writing component it enriches student learning. It also models to students that we use reading and writing skills in all aspects of school. From science to time with an art docent, the students will find engaging reading and writing components in the lesson.

This seems like the most effective way to get the most out of the whole school day, by integrating subjects and being urgent with the teaching. As a future educator I foresee myself not waiting till I need to think on my feet to test our integrating subjects but rather utilize every minute of the school day by planning on integrations. This, paired with teaching with a sense of urgency will lead to optimal learning for myself and students.

Finding Joy in Writing

example 2 - just as charming

example 2 – just as charming

A dear studetns letter

A dear studetns letter

This week I have been writing, writing and more writing. If I haven’t been writing I have been thinking about writing, yup it’s that time of year again: school work crunch before the holidays!
This past week I have been working on an assessment report focusing on a student’s reading and writing, coming up with activities and assessing them to see If I correctly identified the students zone of proximal development. With this in mind, I have also come to terms that if we cannot bring out the joy in writing then there are no point in teaching the “rules” of writing to them. As educators we face a multitude of concerns with a student’s writing journey, but if we narrow in on what is wrong and how to fix it we may forget to teach them to write what they love, or what inspires them. Looking back at my main placement, I flipped through some of my 2nd graders own writing they gave me ( I was the example for the first week of school as classroom star of the week !) Each week the students work on a personal letter to the star of the week, the first two sentences are devised as a whole class- and then they add their own thoughts and well wishes. This letter is worked on during spare class time throughout the week and comes with a personal drawing! I love this because this is writing at its finest; there is a purpose (star of the week) critical thinking (vocabulary, letter writing, punctuation etc…) and creative ideas (drawings and coloring- connecting images to meaning of words). This is all joy in writing- who would not love to get a booklet from your classmates, and who does not love sharing why someone is a good friend or how you love the color blue just like you? We need to keep the focus of writing activities that bring joy out of it- if the students love to write, the rest will fall into place.