Back to school: Kimberly Hill Campbell and Penny Silvers

Graduate students are students too, right? Two authors, Penny Silvers (Many Texts, Many Voices) and Kimberly Hill Campbell (Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay) share how preparing for a year of teaching older students has the same rhythms as teaching children. Leave a comment and be entered to win a free Stenhouse book at the end of our series.

Penny Silvers

For me, back to school always means building community, sharing interests, and learning about each other’s areas of expertise. We always ask students what they are wondering about, what they have read recently, and what they would like to learn more about in the coming year.  That way, we can make curricular connections based on student interests and set up inquiry opportunities for them to pursue their wonderings and questions.  This leads to inquiry groups, reading and writing workshop, and many digital and visual explorations (multiliteracies).  This is the same for first graders as well as for graduate students.

Kimberly Hill Campbell

Although it is difficult to give up the less-structured days of summer, I love the opportunity of a new school year–a fresh start.   I prepare by first focusing on new school supplies.  I love being in the store surrounded by a mix of kids and parents with their school supply lists.  On my own list is a new three-ring binder for each course I teach, a spiral notebook to use for my classroom notes, observations, and in class writing; new post-it notes, and some colorful pens.  Once again I will work to be the organized teacher researcher I dream of being.  Perhaps this will be the year.

And then I pop the popcorn and settle down for my annual viewing of Dead Poets Society.  I know it’s not a realistic picture of teaching.  I know that Mr. Keating is not the teacher I want to be or want my graduate students to be.  But the movie is a tribute to the power of poetry and why it matters.  And the movie reminds me that I teach because reading and writing help students find their voices.  This needs to be my focus.

2 comments September 4th, 2012

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