Media Seasons


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Mentor Texts category.

Leadership Sharpens the Saw

 

“I won!” The usual statement after winning a raffle prize at a conference  (in this case the Bucks Lehigh EduSummit) was quickly followed by contemplating how best to share the contents of the prize Every Teacher a Leader: Developing the Needed Dispositions, Knowledge, and Skills for Teacher Leadership by Barbara B. Levin and Lynne Schrum with my colleagues, who at this point so close to the beginning of the schoolyear are focusing on their “to do” lists. That may be exactly why recognizing that every single member of the community has something to contribute to the good of the whole can produce the most satisfying results to change “I win” to a “win/win” scenario.  

One of my roles as a library media teacher is to share resources with my colleagues who teach various content areas, so I communicate info about new professional resources via various platforms from booktalks to tweets.  I have challenged myself to do something different with the latest, unexpected text to make its way onto our professional development collection.  This 2017 copyright title speaks to all educators, so I’m committing future blog posts devoted to each chapter.  While we prep and work through the first six weeks of school, I will share meaningful connections to our practice of how to help others succeed.

As an educator who embraces inquiry as a basic approach to learning, I like the questioning framework the authors use for each chapters.  I teach in a district committed to the Leader In Me initiative, so I’ve focused on how this text might help me “sharpen the saw,” since we are past initial implementation so that we can make our efforts “win/win” scenarios as often as possible.   I am a firm believer that using metacognitive strategies as we make connections and share what we do produces better results.  Blogging allows me an opportunity to assure that this happens.

The book’s subtitle indicates how much the authors value not only knowledge but development of dispositions and skills. Establishing a climate for learning with dispositions essential to success is important not only for our young learners but those of us who are modeling lifetime learning.  If one’s working definition of “teacher leadership” does not include all staff, then it is time to reconsider and begin to find ways to recognize how each staff member can contribute to the good of the whole.  

At the elementary level, we have been focusing on writing workshops, so our libraries offer Resource Lists of mentor texts, but the lists are not static. We look forward to everyone contributing to help these lists evolve by sharing texts that motivate and engage budding student writers.  Veteran teachers may have read aloud titles that never fail to captivate, but new teachers may  just as effectively offer a fresh perspective. I look forward to finding opportunities to hear why various texts work so well. The best indicator is when students arrive in the Library begging to check out a story read aloud in their classroom. Love to think of the ways that engaged, independent revisiting of texts sharpens the saws.

A new title I’m most excited about is School’s First Day of School by author Adam Rex and illustrator Christian Robinson. While the illustrations help readers visualize the setting, Rex’s language fully frames an understanding of a cleverly personified school building with his own set of jitters about the first day of school.  We’re extra lucky in our school building this year to be able to use this text to help introduce our new janitor, too, as all janitors are essential to the success of a smooth-running school!  

What school story do you plan to share in your school community?